Most of the time, even if you notice the symptom you might think it's nothing to worry about it. That's why you need to know this.
Thousands of women every year are told that they have cervical cancer, and it’s likely that a lot of them had no idea what the warning signs looked like. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America say cervical cancer is one that doesn’t have typical or noticeable symptoms, which is why it can go unnoticed when you’re in the early stages of the medical condition. In America, it is roughly 12,000 women who receive a diagnosis of cervical cancer every year, which is generally caused due to human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is commonly spread from one person to another through sexual activity. While they can be mistaken for other medical conditions, these are some of the common signs that point towards cervical cancer:
Noticing little things that are quite different from what is normal for you can be a cause for concern. In the case of cervical cancer, the sensation of wanting to urinate more or observing that you are urinating a lot more than you usually do could be a sign of cervical cancer. In addition to this, if you notice that you are also feeling pain while you urinate, this could be a symptom of cervical cancer as well.
It is common for women to experience vaginal discharge as a symptom of cervical cancer. Apart from it being unusual or something you don’t normally experience, it might appear watery, clear and tinged with blood. The discharge might be white or brown in color, and might also come with an unpleasant smell with it.
One of the most common symptoms of invasive cervical cancer is experiencing abnormal bleeding from the vagina. This may take place between two menstrual cycles and also commonly occurs after having sex. It is possible that these symptoms often go unnoticed or are mistaken as spotting because it may appear as blood-streaked vaginal discharge at times. Remember that if you have already been through the transition of menopause, bleeding from the vagina is not normal under any circumstance and could be an effect of cervical cancer or other medical conditions. Despite your age, if you notice that you have irregular bleeding, ask your doctor for help.
Experiencing pain in the back or the pelvic area can be a symptom of cervical cancer as well. If you notice pelvic pain during the day or during intercourse, it tends to be an effect of unusual changes happening to the cervix or other medical conditions.
As the cancer becomes advanced, it is possible that it causes you to feel unusual pain in your leg, and you might notice that it has started to swell up.
If you notice your weighing scale dipping over time, despite you not having changed your lifestyle or diet, it could be a symptom that takes place after the initial stages of cervical cancer. In addition to this, if you have also been feeling unusually dull and generally too tired to do much lately for no apparent reason, it could be because of cervical cancer.
There are a couple of things that women generally undergo but don’t realize that it could lead to severe medical conditions. One of the factors that can increase your risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer is the prolonged use of oral birth control pills or having it more often than what is the healthy amount. Women who have a weakened immune system are also at greater risk of getting HPV infection and developing cervical cancer. Moreover, if your mother was using diethylstilbestrol (DES) while she was pregnant with you, that too could increase your chances of developing cervical cancer.
It is also advised to reduce your risk of getting HPV infection by not having too many sexual partners. It is also noted that having sexual intercourse for the first time at a young age or giving birth at a young age could increase the risk for HPV. Other reasons that could cause more risk include smoking as well as having several pregnancies. It has also been observed that women who experience high levels of stress over prolonged periods of time find it harder to ward off HPV, especially if they used unhealthy means to cope with it like alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs.
When the diagnosis happens early, the medical treatment can have a much better effect and the recovery process will be easier for you. It is recommended by the American Cancer Society that women start getting screenings done at the age of 21 for cervical cancer. If you’re aged between 21 to 29 years, it is best for you to take a Pap test every 3 years, and if you’re between the ages of 30 to 65, it’s advisable for you to take a Pap test along with an HPV test every 5 years. Once you have crossed the age of 65 and you have had screenings over the past decade, you can stop taking the screening test under normal circumstances.
Note that even if you have had the HPV vaccine in the past, it is still recommended that you undergo screenings. Also ensure that you are NOT getting a screening test done every year, no matter how old you are.