Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study to find out more about symptoms and experiences that young women have before being diagnosed with cancer of the cervix
This study aimed to learn more about the symptoms and experiences that young women have before being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
The overall aim of the study was to ensure that in the future, young women with cervical cancer can be diagnosed as quickly as possible.
Summary of results
The study team found that many young women do not know the symptoms of cervical cancer and delayed going to see a doctor about them.
164 women aged 18 to 29 who had cervical cancer agreed to take part. Of those, 128 were interviewed about the events leading up to their diagnosis. The researchers found that
- 40 women were diagnosed after seeing a doctor with symptoms that included bleeding between periods, after or during sex, or a vaginal discharge
- 86 women were diagnosed after their routine cervical screening test
- 2 were diagnosed after checkups for other health conditions
The main findings were that
- Out of the 40 women who were diagnosed after seeing their doctor with symptoms, 11 had delayed seeing a doctor, and this was more common in women aged under 25
- Some women who’d had a vaginal discharge delayed seeing a doctor and they didn’t know that it could be a sign of cervical cancer
- There were also delays in diagnosing some women after they had been to see a doctor about symptoms
- Some women who did see a doctor delayed going back again despite continuing symptoms
- Many women diagnosed after their routine cervical screening test had also had symptoms
The researchers concluded that many young women don’t know what the symptoms of cervical cancer are. They may delay going to see their doctor, which can delay diagnosis. There were also delays in diagnosing some women after they had been to see a doctor about symptoms. The study team suggests that information about symptoms should be improved and this could help cervical cancer to be diagnosed earlier in the future.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Amanda-Jane Ramirez
NHS Cancer Screening Programmes
King's College London Promoting Early Presentation Group
Trent Cancer Registry