County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust places cookies on your computer to improve our website. These cookies don't collect information that identifies a visitor and are all anonymous.� They are used to measure its performance and to provide enhancements to you while using the site. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our privacy policy. Close

Cervical Screening: Have you made your appointment?

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Talking About Cancer (TAC) Service, is working in the local community to promote cervical screening and encourage women to recognise the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer.

Members of the Talking About Cancer Service are working in partnership with Consett Medical Practice and Willington Medical Group, giving local women in Consett and Willington the opportunity to find out more about cervical screening and ask any questions.

There are around 2,800 new cases of cervical cancer in the UK every year. It is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, but cervical cancer can affect women of any age.

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are linked to a common sexually transmitted infection called the Human Papillomavirus or HPV. Using condoms protects against the infection and can reduce the risk of getting or spreading the HPV infection.

If you smoke this doubles your risk of developing cervical cancer.

Research shows that long-term use of the contraceptive pill slightly increases the risk of cervical cancer, however it is important to know that the pill can help protect against womb and ovarian cancers.

Cervical screening saves around 5000 lives every year in the UK. It is important to go for your cervical screening test whenever you are invited.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It tests for changes in the cervix before they develop into cancer.

Women who are registered with a doctor are invited for free cervical screening tests every three to five years from the age of 25 to 64.

Most women have normal results. Sometimes a sample is not clear enough, so you may have to have another test. If you have an abnormal result this does not mean you have cancer, it means that some of the cells in your test may have changed and you may need to be treated - your doctor will talk to you about having further tests.

If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms make sure you see your doctor

-           Bleeding between periods

-           Bleeding during or after sex

-           Bleeding after you have been through the menopause

-           Any unpleasant vaginal discharge

-           Discomfort or pain during sex

These may be signs of other common conditions. They do not necessarily mean you have cancer, but it's best to get the checked out by your doctor.

For further information, please contact Vicki Moffat on 01207 523 425 or Sharon Smith on 01388 742 562.

Published: 6 January 2012

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital