Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix. It usually grows very slowly. How serious it is depends on how big it is, if it has spread and your general health.

The cervix is part of the female reproductive system. It is found between the vagina and the womb. It keeps bacteria out of your uterus, produces discharge to clean your vagina, and changes its positioning to help facilitate or protect a pregnancy.

Who is at risk of cervical cancer?

Anybody with a cervix can get cervical cancer. It is more common in people:

  • Under the age of 45
  • With a weakened immune system
  • Who had children at an early age

You cannot get cervical cancer if you have had a total hysterectomy.

How to reduce your risk of cervical cancer

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet
  • Use condoms

Cervical cancer screening

As a preventative measure, make sure you attend your screening appointments when invited. See here for further information about when you may be invited and what it involves


Go see a doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain in the area between the hip bones (pelvis)

Your GP appointment

Before your appointment

In order to get the most out of your appointment, you should come prepared with the following information:

  • Write down your symptoms including when they started, when they happen and how often you have them.
  • Write down anything that makes them worse or better.
  • Any family history of cancer

During your appointment

Your doctor will start by asking you questions relating to your symptoms and medical history.

They will then suggest physical examinations. You may have a chaperone there if you wish. To check your cervix, you lie down on your back with your knees up and legs apart. The doctor will then use a speculum to gently open your vagina to look for anything abnormal in the cervix or vagina. They might also take a sample to check for infections.

They may also do a pelvic examination. Here, the doctor will put two gloved fingers into your vagina, and also press down on your tummy with their other hand for any lumps or changes in size or shape. Your GP might also want examine your rectum.

After your appointment

Your doctor might need to refer you to hospital for tests, such as a colposcopy to have a closer look at your cervix. Or they might refer you directly to a specialist.

Information, resources and support