Cervical cancer is a significant health concern for women worldwide, with potentially life-threatening consequences.

It develops in the cells of the cervix and is typically caused by persistent infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).  

The LLETZ procedure can be a crucial option for those needing advanced medical intervention. Understanding the risk factors, recognising symptoms, and adopting preventive measures are essential steps in combating this disease. Additionally, maintaining intimate health plays a vital role in overall cervical health. 

Understanding Cervical Cancer and Its Impact 

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer typically progresses slowly, making regular screenings vital for early detection and successful treatment. There are two primary types of cervical cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the thin, flat cells lining the outer part of the cervix, and adenocarcinoma, which starts in the glandular cells that line the cervical canal. 

Risk Factors and Causes 

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection 

HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Certain high-risk strains of HPV are particularly associated with cervical cancer. Most sexually active people will contract HPV at some point, but in most cases, the infection resolves on its own. However, persistent infection with high-risk HPV strains can lead to cervical cancer. 

Teal awareness ribbon with cervix shape on palms hand over pink background with copy space. Ovarian Cancer month, cervical cancer day.


Smoking doubles the risk of cervical cancer. Tobacco by-products have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke, damaging the DNA of cervix cells and contributing to the development of cancer. 


Women with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those taking immunosuppressive drugs, have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. A weakened immune system is less effective at fighting off HPV infections and other potential precancerous conditions. 

Long-term Use of Oral Contraceptives 

Using oral contraceptives for five or more years has been linked to an increased risk of cervical cancer. However, this risk decreases after discontinuing use. 

Multiple Full-term Pregnancies 

Women who have had three or more full-term pregnancies are at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. The exact reason is unclear, but hormonal changes during pregnancy and exposure to HPV during sexual activity may play a role. 

Family History of Cervical Cancer 

A family history of cervical cancer can increase your risk. This suggests that genetic factors may also contribute to the likelihood of developing the disease. 

Symptoms to Watch For 

Recognising early symptoms of cervical cancer can save lives. Here are some key signs to be aware of: 

  • Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding: This can include bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause. A healthcare provider should evaluate any unusual bleeding. 
  • Unusual Discharge: A watery, bloody discharge with a foul odour can be a symptom of cervical cancer. 
  • Pain During Intercourse: Experiencing pain during sex might indicate cervical cancer or other health issues and should be investigated. 
  • Pelvic Pain: Persistent pelvic pain, unrelated to menstrual cycles, could be a warning sign of cervical cancer. 

Cervical Cancer Prevention 

HPV Vaccination 

The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection with the high-risk HPV strains most commonly associated with cervical cancer. It is recommended for girls and boys aged 11-12 but can be given as early as nine and up to age 26. 

Regular Screening 

Regular cervical screening through Pap smears and HPV tests is crucial. Women aged 21-29 should have a Pap smear every three years, women aged 30-65 should have a Pap smear combined with an HPV test every five years, or a Pap smear alone every three years. 

Safe Sexual Practices 

Using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners can reduce the risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer. 

Lifestyle Choices 

Quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy diet and weight are essential preventive measures. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help boost your immune system. 

Intimate Care for Cervical Health 

Proper intimate hygiene is critical for preventing infections that can affect cervical health. It’s good to use gentle cleansing practices, avoiding harsh soaps and douching. Choose fragrance-free, pH-balanced products to maintain the natural balance of your intimate area. 

Common infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis should be treated promptly. If you experience unusual symptoms, seek medical advice to prevent complications. 

Combining regular intimate care with preventive measures supports overall cervical health. Establish a routine with regular check-ups and screenings and foster open communication with your healthcare provider. 

Empowering Women Through Education 

Awareness and education are powerful tools in the fight against cervical cancer. Access reliable resources for further information and share knowledge with friends and family. By empowering each other, women can take proactive steps toward better health. 

Cervical cancer is a serious but preventable disease. Through vaccination, regular screenings, safe sexual practices, and attentive, intimate care, women can significantly reduce their risk and maintain optimal health. Let’s prioritise our well-being and support one another in this journey toward a healthier future. 

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