As per the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer is most common among women in their middle-ages, particularly in the age group of 35-44. However, that does not take away from the fact that women, irrespective of any age are at risk of developing cervical cancer. It is difficult to detect cervical cancer at an early stage. This article lists a few risk factors and symptoms of this condition.
Cervical cancer doesn’t really lead to any symptoms in the initial stages. However, some risk factors can make a person more prone to the development of this type of cancer. These include:
- Having more than one sexual partner
- Having HIV
- Having more than one child
- Consuming contraceptive pills
- Having a history of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Undergoing organ transplant
Though cervical cancer is mostly uncommon among younger adults, it is still important to undergo routine screenings to ensure that if and when a person is detected with cervical cancer, immediate remedial actions are taken.
Symptoms of cervical cancer
As such, a lot of women tend to ignore the early warning signs and symptoms of cervical cancer; however, when the disease has aggravated further, it might lead to:
Abnormal bleeding from the vagina: It is the giveaway sign of some underlying trouble. One may experience abnormal bleeding once cancer has aggravated and spread across the surrounding tissues. At times, a person might equate this bleeding to regular spotting but one should see a doctor if there is:
- Heavier bleeding during the periods
- Periods last longer than usual
- Vaginal bleeding between the periods
- Bleeding after having sex
- Bleeding post any pelvic examination
- Bleeding post-menopause
- Bleeding, which leads to anemia and results in dizziness or fatigue
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
At times, cervical cancer can lead to an inadequate flow of oxygen in certain cells, which might then die off. As a result of this, the tumor gets infected, and the infection can lead to the production of a vaginal discharge that might have a weird smell. Sometimes the discharge is watery, pale, brown, and often mixed in blood.
Sex becomes painful: Usually, women who have cervical cancer might experience abnormal pain during intercourse.
Appendix, pelvic, or lower back pain: The pelvic pain or pain in the lower back is often a cause of an issue with the reproductive system, probably the cervix. If the pain is persistent, it means that cancer has aggravated to an advanced stage.
Leg pain: Another common early warning sign and symptom of cervical cancer is the swelling or the pain in the legs.
Weight loss: Lastly, cervical cancer might lead to weight loss, which is mostly unexplained. At times, an individual might be unable to eat, while other times, no matter what a person eats, weight loss occurs.