Cervical cancer affects about 13,000 women in the United States each year, and more than 4,200 women died from the disease in 2017 alone. Fortunately, cervical cancer can be prevented with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV is a very common sexually transmitted virus. In addition to HPV, the causes of cervical cancer include:
Having multiple sexual partners
Use of contraceptives
History of sexually transmitted infections (STDs)
Has many children
Thanks to the Pap test and the Gardasil 9 vaccine, cervical cancer deaths have dropped by more than 50 percent over the past 40 years. Cervical cancer usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. As the cancer progresses, women begin to experience the following symptoms of cervical cancer.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
The most common precursor to cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This usually happens after the cancer has spread to nearby tissues. Spotting can be harmless, but it’s important to see a doctor if you have bleeding between periods, heavy or prolonged periods, bleeding after intercourse, menopause, pelvic exams, or fatigue that causes anemia.
We all experience fatigue, but when should you start paying attention to it? Cancer patients often feel fatigued, tired, weak, and reluctant to participate in activities. For people suffering from fatigue, even the most mundane tasks seem boring. The more severe the cancer, the more tired it will be.
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
As with many other types of cancer, loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss is a warning sign of cervical cancer. This will be especially noticeable if you continue to lose weight regardless of what you eat.
- Fetal vaginal discharge
This warning sign is very common in cervical cancer. When cervical cancer is deprived of oxygen, some cells die and infect the tumor. The cause of vaginal odor is infection. If the stool is continuous, pale, liquid, brown, or bloody, you should consult a doctor.
- Pain during intercourse
Women with cervical cancer may experience pain during intercourse. Tumor growth in all tissues and reproductive organs is the cause of such pain, and if it occurs, it should not be ignored.
- Pain in lower back, pelvis and appendix
Pain in the lower back or pelvic area may be related to problems with the reproductive organs, such as the cervix. Pelvic pain, especially persistent pain, is a precursor to cervical cancer. Pain near the appendix usually does not occur unless the tumor is at an advanced stage. Pelvic pain often accompanies other cervical cancer red flags.
- Legs hurt
When the cancer progresses and reaches an advanced stage, it can press on the nerves in the pelvic wall, causing pain and swelling in the legs. Swelling accompanied by leg pain can be a symptom of cervical cancer, but it can also be a symptom of various diseases.