This 'Silent Symptom' Could Be A Sign Of Cervical Cancer

A timely reminder to go for your smear test.
A Muslim woman sits across from her female doctor as she talks with her about cervical cancer
Anchiy via Getty Images
A Muslim woman sits across from her female doctor as she talks with her about cervical cancer

There are almost nine new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed every day in the UK and it is the 14th most common cancer in people assigned female at birth.

It’s most commonly found in those aged between the ages of 30 and 34 but from age 25 onwards, invitations are sent out to people throughout the UK for a cervical smear in order to test for early signs of the cancer.

The NHS states that, “It’s your choice if you want to go for cervical screening. But cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect you from cervical cancer.”

However, one overlooked symptom of cervical cancer is lower back pain.

This can be an early signifier of the cancer and isn’t something to ignore just because you think it may be related to age or posture.

Cervical smear uptake rates still need to improve

According to data from this year’s women’s health index, in the UK, overall the number of people getting screened for cancer has improved. However, additional research highlighted that those from ethnic minorities reporting lower attendance for cervical screening compared to those who are white.

Additionally, those from low income households are less likely than people from high income households to get tested.

According to the NHS, cervical screening checks a sample of cells from your cervix for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

These types of HPV can cause abnormal changes to the cells in your cervix and are called “high risk” types of HPV.

If these types of HPV are found during screening (an HPV positive result), the sample of cells is then checked for abnormal changes. If abnormal cells are not treated, they may turn into cervical cancer.

If your cervical screening test is overdue, now is the time to book it.

Cervical cancer symptoms

According to Bupa, these are the symptoms of cervical cancer:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as heavy periods, bleeding between periods or after you have sex
  • Bleeding from your vagina after you’ve been through the menopause
  • A vaginal discharge which may smell unpleasant
  • Pain when you have sex
  • Blood stains or mucus in your vaginal discharge
  • Pain in your pelvis or back

While these could be symptoms of other conditions, it’s essential that you speak to your GP if you’re experiencing them.