Cervix is the lower part of the uterus, where it gets contacting the female vagina. Cervical cancer happens when abnormal cells on the cervix develop out of human control. Cervical cancer is reckoned one of the most popular cancers in women all over the world. However, in many countries where cervical cancer screening becomes a routine like the United States, this type of cancer is no so popular. The majority of cervical cancer is resulted by a virus named human papillomavirus – HPV – which are available in many types. Not all types of HPV lead to cervical cancer. Some cause genital warts, but others might not lead to any symptom.
Most adults have been infected with HPV at some time in their life and the infection might disappear on its own. However, sometimes it could result in genital warts or cervical cancer. Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers often have no cervical cancer symptoms. Symptoms usually do not start until a pre-cancer becomes a true cancer and develops into nearby tissue. When this occurs, the most common cervical cancer symptoms are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, like bleeding after having see, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and having heavier or longer menstrual periods than normal. Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam is among popular cervical cancer symptoms but not pre-cancer symptoms.
- Pain during sex
- A discharge from vagina area that is not normal – the discharge might include some blood and might happen between periods or after menopause
- A significant unexplained change in the menstrual cycle
[Read: cancer symptoms in women]
These above are the symptoms happening if cervical cell changes progress to cancer. If the condition progress to advanced cervical cancer, the cervical cancer symptoms might contain:
- Ongoing pelvic, back or leg pain
- Anemia due to abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Urinary problems due to the blockage of a ureter or kidney
- Weight loss
- Leakage of stool or urine into the vagina. That could occur when an abnormal opening has grown between the bladder (or rectum) and the female vagina.
Irregular bleeding is considered as the most common cervical cancer symptom. It might happen after sexual intercourse or between menstrual periods. Even, it could happen in a postmenopausal female whose menstrual periods have just stopped. Vaginal bleeding in such women indicates a serious medical problem and requires a visit to a professional.
In those younger females, minor bleeding irregularities could be easy to ignore. Perhaps, spotting between periods means nothing, yet it could also be a symptom or sign of cervical cancer.
When To See Your Doctor?
The range of problems that could result in vaginal bleeding is various, range in seriousness and vary based on the fertility, age and medical history of the sufferer.
You should also consult your doctor when you start having:
- Difficult in urinating
- Pain during having sex
- Difficulty in defecating
Any of these cervical cancer symptoms should be reported to a doctor. If these cervical cancer symptoms appear, it is crucial to talk with your doctor about them even when they seem to be the symptoms of other less serious problems. The earlier precancerous cells or cancer is diagnosed and treated, the higher chance the cancer could be prevented and cured.
When talking with your doctor, he/she will ask how long and how often you have been undergoing the symptom(s) along with many other questions. By this way, he could find out the cause of the problem.
If the cancer is diagnosed, ignoring symptoms might let it progress to a more advanced stage and lower your possibility for effective treatment. [Read: home remedies for bacterial vaginosis]
Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented?
As the most popular form of this type of cancer begins with pre-cancerous changes, there are 2 manners to stop this problem from developing. One manner is to find and treat pre-cancers before they become real cancers, and the other is to prevent the pre-cancers right at the beginning.
Things to do in order to prevent pre-cancers as well as cancers contain:
- Avoid contacting with the human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Use condom
- Avoid smoking
- Get vaccinated