1. ITV Report

Do you know the symptoms of cervical cancer?

The Government say smear tests on younger women are far more likely to come back with abnormal results that are not cancerous. Photo: PA

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, a charity dedicated to those affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, says that while abnormal cervical cells do not usually show any symptoms, there are common symptoms associated with the disease:

Cervical cancer symptoms

  • Abnormal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • Post-menopausal bleeding for women who are not on HRT or who have stopped it for six weeks
  • Unusual/unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Lower back pain.

The charity advises any girls or women who are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, or are concerned about any new symptoms, to make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.

MPs are debating lowering the age of smear tests following the death of Sophie Jones, 19, who was not screened because she was under 25. Credit: ITV News Granada

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "For younger women we need to encourage a greater awareness of the symptoms for cervical cancer as early detection is key to improving survival chances.

"A guideline was launched by the Department of Health in 2009 because of concerns that young women who present to their GPs with gynaecological symptoms were not always being given the right advice.

"Therefore we feel there is a need for more targeted campaigns to ensure that if a patient presents with symptoms of cervical cancer that they are immediately acted on as per the guideline.”

Cervical screening is not a test to find cancer, it is a screening test to detect abnormalities at an early stage in the cells in the cervix.

Around 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in UK each year.