Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women and is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). All sexually active women are at risk of developing this cancer. Like other cancers, the chances of remission are greater when signs of cervical cancer is detected and treated at an early stage.
Contact your Gynecologic Oncologist immediately if you observe any of the earning signs of cervical cancer given below,
Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer:
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
An untimely bout of vaginal bleeding that occurs regularly between periods or after coitus or after menopause could be reflective of cervical cancer. It may also occur due to other medical conditions like hormonal imbalance, or a pelvic infection. This is the one of the signs of cervical cancer and warrants immediate medical attention and a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Unusual Vaginal Discharge
A little amount on non-smelling vaginal discharge is normal; however, if the amount increase and it smells foul and has a patchy appearance, it could signify some sort of infection like bacterial vaginosis or endometrial cancer. Cervical cancer is represented by vaginal discharge which is heavy, pale, watery, brown or mixed with blood. Such smelly discharges may be harmless but prolonged conditions might need further screening.
Discomfort While Urinating
Passing urine is a non-painful process when a person is healthy. Any discomfort like burning or stinging sensation while urinating may be caused by some kind of urinary tract infection, sexually transmitted disease or cervical cancer. Pain during urination can be a sign of cervical cancer. This needs further screening to prevent further damage.
Pain During Intercourse
Pain during sexual intercourse is an important sign of cervical cancer, though there may be other less offensive diseases like sexually transmitted diseases that might be reflected by it. A smelly discharge along with pain during coitus, however is an important warning sign that should not be ignored.
Heavier & Longer Menstrual Periods
Menstrual periods that stay for longer periods of time and involved heavier flow might be indicative of cervical cancer. As said earlier, it might not just indicate cervical cancer and hence it is good to speak to a gynecologist. Heavy bleeding is considered when as you need to change sanitary napkins or tampons more often than once every 2 hours.
Loss of Bladder Control
Frequent visits to the washroom to empty bladder with a hint of blood discharge in the urine, may need immediate consult with doctor to find out the underlying cause. Loss of bladder control is one the primary issue that happen during cervical cancer. This indicates that cancer has spread to other nearby organs and indicates an advanced stage of cervical cancer, if initially screening tests confirm the same.
Body pain especially in the lower part of the body specifically, pain in the leg, back, and/or pelvis need to be looked into, to understand the reason behind this pain. Women with cervical cancer often experience swelling of the legs, because the cancer has spread to other parts and is obstructing blood flow. In advances stages this might impact inability to execute the basic functions as well and should be discussed with a physician.
In cancer, the red blood cells are replaced by white blood cell to help fight the cancerous cells, herby depleting the capacity of the body to work energetically and stay active. If you find yourself constantly fatigued, please refer a doctor.
Unexplained Weight Loss
In cancer, the body releases cytokines, which facilitate fat breakdown at a rate higher than normal, which leads to weight loss, irrespective of the diet that you take.
While some amount of pelvic pain is routine for women, especially during menstrual cycle, however, pain that lasts for longer periods of time and occurs more frequently could be a sign of cervical cancer.
Read about: Cervical cancer treatment options.