Today marks the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and here at Pretty Normal Me we think that's something to shout about. So here we are, SHOUTING about it. As any followers of the blog will already know, we work closely with the Eve Appeal, the UK's Gynaecological Cancer Research Charity and this week, as every week, I want to help them spread the word about gynae cancer and what we can do to help prevent it!
So let's talk about Cervical Cancer because, if you're honest with yourself, you don't really know enough about it, do you? Here we go:
- Every day NINE women are diagnosed with cervical cancer.
- It primarily affects women between 30-45 years of age (NO, if you're 28 or 47 and reading this YOU CANNOT LEAVE NOW)
- Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by a common STI called Human Papillomavirus otherwise known as HPV. This is why the Government is vaccinating girls at an early age before they are exposed to HPV. (NO, it is not a disease for slags or sluts or whatever you're thinking, STOP THINKING THAT).
- The symptoms are not obvious until later stages which is why it is SO IMPORTANT that women attend ALL of their cervical screening appointments. (NO, just going to the first one when you're 25 and feeling smug is not good enough, you have to go to ALL OF THE ONES YOU'RE INVTED TO).
- The symptoms. So what are the symptoms? Well as I said, they are not obvious in early stages, BUT there is one obvious one:
In most cases vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable sign that something is wrong; it often occurs after sex but any bleeding outside of the normal menstrual cycle could be a symptom, particularly in women who have been through the menopause. I know it's scary I really do, but if you are noticing this then please please please go to the doctors.
- The thing to remember is that cervical cancer is largely preventable and the screenings that we have on offer are estimated to save over 4000 lives a year. FOUR THOUSAND!!!!
So why girls, did over a quarter of women aged 25-64 miss their appointments between 2015 and 2016???
GUYS - YOU'VE GOT TO DO THE SCREENINGS!!!!!!! Take a friend, get drunk before you go - whatever it is that get's you through just GO! (Joking about the last one, probably best not to get drunk). But seriously, it's so so worth it. I know it can be a little scary but it needn't be, it really could save your life. It's SO worth doing, please please please go.
It's time we got to know our normal girls and did as the Eve Appeal suggest this January and Think Cervical. But how Em? I hear you ask. How do I Think Cervical this week? Don't worry, the Eve Appeal have got you covered. They are encouraging us to:
- Be aware of the symptoms. Vaginal bleeding is the main one but follow the link HERE to read more.
- Go to your screenings. GO. GO GO.
- Learn where our cervix is. Seriously. In a study conducted by the Eve Appeal last year, 45% of young women and girls don't know where it is. Do you know where it is? GOOGLE IT NOW.
- Get EVERYONE (men too, obviously) to know how to prevent it and importantly, to support the Eve Appeal's life saving research. Go to their website and see how you can do your bit HERE.
Guys, it's Cervical Cancer Prevention week and I am not going to stop banging on about it. So I have a favour to ask. To all of my readers over 25 please comment or tweet me with the date of your next screening, just so I know you've got one booked in. To the rest of you, keep checking and keep healthy and keep talking. Worrying and panicking in silence is never the answer, we are always here and so are the Eve Appeal, let's work together to prevent cervical cancer!