Whether we like or not, the Big C is causing thousands of deaths all over the world every year, in just 2017 alone, the American Cancer Society recorded almost 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer alone and 4,200 among those women already died.
The often causes of cervical cancer includes smoking, having multiple sexual partners, use of contraceptive, history of sexual transmitted infections (STI), having multiple children, HIV, and organ transplant.
These numbers could be avoided as cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers among women. One just needs pay good attention on the signs and symptoms so you do something to prevent it.
Below are some of the common signs of cervical cancer every woman should not ignore:
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
According to Oncologist Aruna Turaka of UnityPoint Health, this is the most common symptom and it normally occurs when cancer already spread in a nearby tissue. What you think is just a normal spotting could lead to something dangerous, so Dr. Turaka suggests to immediately see your doctor if you experience the following:
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Heavier menstrual periods
- Longer menstrual periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding after a pelvic exam
- Bleeding resulting in anemia-causing fatigue, dizziness
Foul smelling vaginal discharge
When the cancer cells lack oxygen some of it dies and later on infecting the tumor and the infection results in a foul-smelling discharge. Continuous discharge may further look pale, watery, brown or with hints of blood.
Pain during sexual intercourse
Sex should be pleasurable, so when you feel pain, it could be a sign of some serious health issues. When a woman experiences pain during sex, it could mean she has an advanced cervical cancer s the tumor grows through tissues and reproductive organs.|
Lower back, pelvic or appendix pain
The pain felt on the lower back or pelvic area could normally be linked to reproductive organs, such as cervix. This kind of pain occurs when the cancer is already in the advanced stage.
As cancer grows and becomes more advanced, it may start to press against nerves in the pelvic wall, resulting in leg pain and sometimes swelling. While swelling could be a symptom of a number of medical problems, if accompanied by leg pain, this could be a warning sign of cervical cancer.
Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
Just like any other cancers, a sudden drop in one’s weight and loss of appetite could reach to the point of losing too much weight regardless of how much food you consume.
When you noticed the above-mentioned symptoms, be sure to immediately see your doctor. But do not wait until you notice any symptoms, instead, do the following in order to prevent you from getting cervical cancer:
Get a regular pap smear
This test determined several precancerous symptoms like the abnormal changes of cell in the cervix. According to Dr. Turaka, a regular pap smear is the best method of catching cervical cancer at an early stage. Women at the age of 21 can start having pap smear test which should be done every three years. While for women ages 30 to 65, pap smear should do done at least every five years together with HPV testing.
Get a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine
Turaka says that HPV is one of the most common causes of cervical cancer so receiving an HPV vaccine is the best way to prevent getting one and it applies to both men and women.
Source: Unity Point