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Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is thought to be caused by infection with the human papilloma virus or HPV. HPV is nearly always sexually transmitted and is the major cause of the two types of cervical cancer. The most common symptom of cervical cancer is bleeding from the vagina at other times than during a period.

You may have bleeding:

  • Between periods
  • After or during sex
  • At any time if you are past menopause

Some women also have:

  • A vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant
  • Discomfort or pain during sex

Cervical cancer can be easily diagnosed and treated if caught early, women aged 20 to 64 should be screened every 3 to 5 years. Cervical cancer is the 2ndmost common cancer in the under 35 age group. 2,700 women in the UK are diagnosed yearly.

There are 24,000 severely abnormal cervical screens each year. Recently the NHS has commenced a vaccination programme for teenage girls who wish to be protected against cervical cancer.

Best Practice:

  • A policy on cancer screening which includes paid time off for screening and follow up appointments and necessary treatment.
  • Providing staff with information on screening. (This facility should be available to all women workers regardless of age and hours worked.)
  • Regular exercise and a low fat diet can help to prevent all forms of cancer and heart disease.

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