BACK pain is part and parcel of everyday life for many Brits, with around three-fifths of people experiencing the dreaded ache at some stage.
Almost two years of many of us working from home has only made such problems worse.
But for some, it’s not being slumped over your laptop while lounging on the sofa that’s causing the pain.
Back pain can be a sign of a number of different underlying health issues, one being cervical cancer.
Specifically, persistent pain found in the lower back, pelvis or appendix can be a symptom of the disease, NHS England says.
According to the Eve Appeal, the UK’s leading gynaecological cancer charity, around 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK every year.
It’s the most common form of the disease in women aged 35 and under.
Diagnosing cervical cancer in the early stages gives patients the best chance of survival and one way of doing this is by attending regular cervical screenings or smear tests.
However, over the past decade – despite the deaths of celebs like Big Brother star Jade Goody – the number of women attending screenings has dropped to the lowest level since records began in 1995.
Nearly a third of women in the UK risk their lives by skipping their smear test.
What are the other early signs to look out for?
The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious – it may not cause any symptoms until it’s reached an advanced stage.
And some women do not experience any signs of cervical cancer at all.
This is why it’s very important that you attend all of your cervical screening appointments.
These are the most common symptoms of the cancer according to the Eve Appeal:
1. Abnormal bleeding (during or after sex, between periods and also post-menopause) period
The most common and earliest sign of cervical cancer tends to be irregular bleeding.
It happens when the cancer cells grow on the tissue below the cervix.
It’s an especially alarming sign in postmenopausal women who no longer have periods.
There’s no age limit to developing cervical cancer.
2. Unusual vaginal discharge
Everyone’s discharge is different, so it’s a case of knowing what is normal for you.
If you find that the colour, smell and consistency of yours has changed, that’s something you really need to have checked out.
When cancer lacks oxygen, it can cause an infection which leads to strange smelling discharge.
3. Discomfort or pain during sex
Pain during sex can be a sign of a number of different issues, but one is cervical cancer.
Because the disease often comes with no symptoms, pain during intercourse is one of the key indicators.
It can be a sign that the cancer is spreading to surrounding tissues.
4. Unintended weight loss
While effortless weight loss might sound like the answer to many of our prayers, it’s never a good sign if it happens seemingly without cause.
A loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss tend to be signs that the body isn’t working properly – it’s trying to conserve energy.
If you notice that you’re not eating as you normally do, go to your GP.
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