The fight against cervical cancer in young women has been stepped up after GPs were issued with new guidance on diagnosis.
It is hoped GPs will be able to identify symptoms earlier thanks to the guidance compiled by the Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening (ACCS).
The working group was established to look at the management of young women with gynaecological symptoms.
It discovered that when full pelvic examinations were not carried out by GPs, women with abnormal bleeding suffered delays in their diagnosis.
The guidance provides GPs with an easy to follow algorithm to help in the management of these young women and re-emphasises existing NICE guidelines around gynaecological symptoms.
National Clinical Director for Cancer, Sir Mike Richards, said: "To help GPs follow the correct procedure we have produced a pathway which maps the steps they need to take when women aged 20-24 present with post-coital bleeding and bleeding between menstruation."
Chairman of the RCGP Professor, Steve Field, said: "We welcome this new guidance; it is a really positive step that will assist us in making earlier diagnoses for younger women aged 20-24, which will in turn improve the outcomes for those at risk, and ultimately save lives."