Following the new that thousands of women could have been put at risk after a private company failed to send out 48,500 letters about cervical cancer screening, we look at the facts around the disease.
• Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix (also known as the neck of the womb) which connects a woman’s womb and her vagina.
• Cervical cancer can affect women of all ages but affects women primarily aged 30 to 45 years. It is very rare in women under 25 years of age.
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• In the UK we have a very successful cervical screening programme which is estimated to save more than 4,000 lives each year.
• Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by a common sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus (HPV).
• Typical symptoms include unusual bleeding, particularly after sex, pain and discomfort during sex and an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge