Cervical Cancer or cancer of the cervix (the lower part of the uterus) is caused by abnormal cells in the cervix which get infected. They then become cancerous tumors. Here you will read all about the signs of cervical cancer.
While there are various causes of cervical cancer such as weakened immunity, smoking and aging, the most common cause is the HPV or Human papillomavirus that can be transmitted from infected skin to skin contact.
An HPV infection that affects women at any given point of life in respect to contracted risk from physical association with infected partners.
However one must note that cervical cancer isn’t caused from every instance of such infections which are usually fought by the body’s immunity. However it is certain types of the virus which may develop into cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women worldwide. In the US alone, about 12, 820 women will be diagnosed with invasive forms of the disease in 2017, 4210 are expected to die from the disease. Here are 8 common signs of cervical cancer you need to be careful about.
Signs of cervical cancer
Abnormal or Excessive bleeding
While unusual and abnormal bleeding can be a cause of other factors, it is also a sign of cervical cancer. Heavy and excessive bleeding during your menstrual cycle, bleeding after menopause and after physical interaction, lengthy menses and cervical irritation are indicators of the disease. Bleeding of any kind should be brought to a doctor’s attention immediately.
Most discharge is due to bacterial and yeast infection, or a symptom of menopause, they are considered harmless and can be treated.
But, discharge with a change in color that appears brownish, pale or yellowish, or if the discharge has a foul odor, then this could be a sign of cervical cancer. Always inform your doctor even if you notice any type of unusual discharge for a correct diagnosis.
Discomfort in urination
In most cases, discomfort and unusual conditions of urination could indicate a urinary tract infection or UTI. However, frequent discomfort during urination or excess urges to urinate and increased urinary frequency is also indications of cervical cancer.
In advanced cases of cervical cancer, there could also be a blockage in the kidneys or urethra causing an obstruction in urine flow. Moreover a UTI that has progressed may also cause symptoms of blood in the urine that may or may not be a sign of cervical cancer. Consult your doctor immediately even if you have UTI.
Just one swollen leg
Usually cancers are asymptomatic or not showing any symptoms until pain starts causing them such as nerve compression. As a tumor grows it starts creating pressure against surrounding nerves and soft tissue and this causes pain. Cervical cancer can cause swelling or pain in just one leg.
Pelvic and back pain
According to Tracy Scheller, MD, a gynecologist in Englewood, New Jersey, Pelvic and back pain are one of the main symptoms of advanced cervical cancer. It’s most likely that the tumor has grown a lot and pressing down on the lower tailbone or lower back. It also feels like a combination of menstrual cramps and back pain.
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Like in most cancers, the symptoms of cervical cancer can include sudden weight loss and appetite loss. Cancerous tumors increase production of cytokines which are small proteins that suppress appetite. They also alter the body’s metabolism to break down fat faster at an abnormal rate causing sudden weight loss and reduced muscle mass.
One of the signs of cervical cancer is unusual lethargy and fatigue, especially when combined with other symptoms. Your body works harder to fight disease which makes it tired.
When a condition of anemia is observed in combination with two or more of the above symptoms, it could be a sign of advanced cervical cancer caused by excessive or abnormal bleeding.
The best way to prevent cervical cancer is timely cervical screening, common urine tests and a check-up from your doctor even when you observe minor but unusual changes in your lower physiology.