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Interview with Nicola Ulliott

Cervical Cancer Survivor and Cancer Research UK Supporter

Among females in the UK, cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer, with approximately 3,300 new cases each year (2017–2019). However, 99.8% of cases are preventable.  

Nicola was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019 following routine cervical screening. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV infection. 

“I expected the all-clear from my cervical screening, but I got a letter saying I had HPV and some abnormal cells. A month after a colposcopy and biopsy, I was told I had cancer,” says Nicola, who is married with two sons.  

“I couldn’t believe it; my first thought was: ‘I have a six-month-old baby; I can’t die!’    

It is not a test for cancer but a test to help prevent it.

 “All the blood rushed to my head, and I couldn’t take in what was being said, including the doctor saying the cancer was stage 1 and treatable.”   

Nicola underwent a hysterectomy — a surgical procedure removing the uterus and cervix — to remove the cancer and went on to make a good recovery.   

Cervical screening 

People with a cervix aged 25 to 64 are invited to attend routine cervical screening if they are registered with a GP surgery. Cervical screening checks for HPV and abnormal cells. It is recommended that people attend every three to five years.  

It is not a test for cancer but a test to help prevent it. Nicola urges people to consider attending their screening, which can be done at their GP surgery.  

“I am passionate about raising awareness of the importance of cervical screening. Although I thought I didn’t have any symptoms, I now realise I did. I had some pain and bleeding between periods, but I put it down to being a new mum. I think it is so important for women to know that cervical cancer — if caught at an early stage — can be successfully treated,” she concludes.  

Cervical screening is for people without symptoms and aims to prevent cervical cancer by identifying people who are at a higher risk. If you notice anything unusual for you, speak to your doctor — don’t wait for your cervical screening appointment.   

Find out more about cervical cancer, including screening:  

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