Changes to a woman's discharge can be a sign of cervical cancer, experts have warned.
While there are no obvious symptoms during the early stages of the illness, it's best to attend smear tests - but there's one check you can perform yourself, reports The Sun.
The UK's National Health Service says one of the key indicators of cervical cancer is "changes to your vaginal discharge".
Those changes can be related to texture, colour, consistency or smell.
Cancer research UK experts say, "Some women also have: a vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant and pain in the area between the hip bones."
It's important to note these changes aren't always down to cancer, and you should ask your doctor if you have concerned.
There are several other key signs you might have cervical cancer, including:
- Pain and discomfort during sex
- Vaginal bleeding after sex, between periods or after menopause
- Pain in your lower back or pelvis
- Severe pain in your side or back caused by your kidneys
- Going to the bathroom more than normal
- Losing control of your bladder or bowels
- Blood in your urine
- Swelling in one or both legs
- Severe vaginal bleeding
Getting a smear test is one of the easiest ways to detect and prevent cervical cancer. The smear test is a preventative swab which collects abnormal cells on the cervix. Detecting and removing these can prevent cervical cancer - it's not a test for the cancer itself.
Most often, results show everything is totally fine. The test shows abnormalities in around one in 20 women.
British GP and medical director of primary care at the NHS Dr Nikki Kanani says cervical screening saves lives.
"By screening for risk signs at an early stage, it means that any abnormal cells can be treated quickly before they potentially develop into cancer.
"We know that it can feel embarrassing or feel like something that you can easily put off, but accepting your invite and getting checked could save your life.
"And please do speak to your GP practice about any concerns you might have – we are here to help you."