Even though cervical cancer is a great threat to women’s life, it can be prevented and there are chances to be treated if diagnosed early.
In most cases, the cancer is caused by HPV or the human papillomavirus. The HPV is an STI (sexually transmitted infection) which comes in many types but only some of them cause cervical cancer. There are chances of the HPV to disappear on its own, but it can also cause abnormal cell growth that may lead to cervical cancer.
The top risk factors for cervical cancer are:
- Low immunity
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having unprotected sex
- Smoking or breathing in second-hand smoke
Even though cervical cancer doesn’t show obvious symptoms like breast cancer does, there are some warning signs that should be checked by a gynecologist.
The cells of the uterine wall begin to rid when the cancer starts to grow. This causes a watery discharge.
Pain or bleeding
You may experience rectal or bladder bleeding. If you ever bleed outside your menstrual period, make an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible. Cervical cancer grows on the walls of the cervix which can dry out and even crack, causing discomfort and bleeding.
Cervix swelling can compress the bladder and the kidneys, which leads to an obstruction of the passage of urine. This further leads to not being able to completely empty your bladder, which causes pain and/or a urinary tract infection.
If your heart speeds up after normal exertion, or if you feel fatigue without making changes in your eating habits, then you may be experiencing symptoms of anemia. Abnormal bleeding can be the cause of anemia, which often accompanies cervical cancer.
According to gynecologist Rosa Maria Leme, “The appearance of small warts (externally or internally) serves as a red flag…diseases such as HPV, which can greatly increases the chances of cervical cancer in women.”
Continuous pain in the legs, hips or back
Like we mentioned above, cervix swelling compresses the internal organs, as well as blood vessels, which can make it difficult for blood to reach the pelvis and legs. This can lead to pain and swelling in the legs and ankles.
A lot of cancer forms can decrease or even suppress appetite, and since cervix swelling compresses the stomach, it causes decreased appetite and weight loss.
It is recommended to do regular preventative exams like a pap smear. These types of exams are done annually.
The symptoms above don’t necessarily indicate cervical cancer, but nonetheless if you ever experience them, let the doctor be the judge.