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Cervical Cancer – How to identify the symptoms
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Cervical Cancer – How to identify the symptoms

You must have heard about gynaecological cancers before; an umbrella term that is used for malignancies that affect the reproductive tract of women. This means that such cancers are specific to women only, and can’t affect men. One such cancer is cervical cancer, which originates from the cells and tissues that line the cervix. This refers to the lower part of the uterus, where it connects with the vagina.

Cervical cancer happens to be the 4th most common cancer affecting women across the globe. The cancer is usually diagnosed in women between the age group of 35 to 44 years and is extremely rare in women below 20 years, although the risks are never completely nil.

Just like most other cancers, cervical cancer can also metastasize, i.e. the cancer cells can spread to the areas surrounding the cervix and gradually to further areas of the body, giving rise to secondary cancer. Surprisingly, in the majority of the cases, the cancer is caused by HPV or human papillomavirus, which is a sexually transmitted infection.

Do you have Cervical Cancer?

The best way to know if you have a certain disease or ailment, is by looking at the symptoms. Unfortunately, some conditions may not initially show symptoms, and become detectable only when the condition has progressed - the same can be said for cervical cancer. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the related symptoms, it is fairly owing to the fact that the cancer has progressed. However, there are several treatment options using different modalities that can help manage the condition, and improve the life of the individual Hence, it is crucial to see a doctor and have yourself evaluated if you are experiencing any of these symptoms lately:

  • Vaginal Bleeds: Irregular or abnormal vaginal bleeds are usually experienced during Stage 2 of cervical cancer. Women normally bleed when they are on their periods, however, if you are experiencing the problem even when you are not mensurating, especially after intercourse, or even during menopause, chances are that it could be linked to cervical cancer. Proper evaluation and assessment are also important if you are noticing an abrupt increase in your menstrual flow, i.e. heavy periods.
  • Pelvic Pain - Pelvic pain and cramps are normally linked to periods but experts suggest that this can also be a major sign of cervical cancer. You may experience such pain in any part of the pelvic area, and it may either be persistent or it may fluctuate. If you are suddenly experiencing such kind of pain despite not being on your period, you should get the condition assessed at the earliest.
  • Vaginal Discharge – Vaginal discharge is quite normal for ovulating women and it may also be perceived as a sign of good reproductive health, however, such discharge is usually transparent, and does not have any foul smell. In case you are noticing a foamy discharge with a pungent smell, bring it to the notice of your doctor at the earliest.
  • Getting exhausted easily - It is natural to experience weakness and fatigue if you skip meals or indulge in rigorous physical activity, however, if you feel tired and exhausted at all times for no reason, it is advisable to consult a cancer doctor as this could be a symptom of cervical cancer
  • Painful intercourse - A lot of women complain of pain during intercourse, and this is quite natural if you are doing it for the first time. However, if you have been experiencing the pain very frequently, you should not overlook it. Experiencing pain during intercourse can be a sign of advanced cervical cancer.

Watch out for these symptoms and seek proper medical help if you can relate to any of the above.

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