Cancer is one such disease that can affect any part of the body and the causes of which are still debatable. It is a life-threatening disease and can be treated only when it is detected in its initial stages. People are often diagnosed with cancer when they reach the later stages since the signs and symptoms of cancer aren’t very prominent. One such form of cancer that affects the individual slowly and is diagnosed after cancer progresses is cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer occurs when the abnormal cells present in the cervix grow rapidly and uncontrollably. The cervix is the entrance into the womb from the vagina. Usually, cervical cancer doesn’t have any glaring symptoms in the early stages. Thus, as a part of cancer awareness programs, women as young as 25 years are advised to go for a Pap test (Papanicolaou Test or Pap Smear) which detects cervical cancer.
However, certain signs and symptoms of cervical cancer become prominent over a period of time, and if you successfully read into it, you can still seek appropriate treatment for the same. The signs and symptoms of cervical cancer are as follows-
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
It is common for women who belong to the age-group 13 to 50 years to experience menstrual cycle every month. However, the trouble arises when you observe unusual vaginal bleeding after a sexual intercourse or between your period. Moreover, heavier-than-normal period or experiencing bleeding after reaching menopause are indications of cervical cancer.
- Strange discharge
Women often experience white discharge, and this is quite normal. This happens usually when you are about to get your period. The color and odor of this discharge tends to change depending upon your menstrual cycle. However, you need to exercise caution when this discharge turns watery, pink, or foul-smelling. At times, this discharge might also contain spots of blood, and this is surely a cause of worry.
- Pelvic pain
It is common for women to experience discomfort or pain in the pelvis area when they are menstruating. However, if you experience pain even after your period is over, then you have to be concerned about it. The pelvic pain can range from being excruciating to a dull ache that refuses to go away. Also, it is advisable to visit the doctor if the individual experiences pain during sexual intercourse or during urination.
A hectic lifestyle or poor eating habits can be the reason that you often feel tired. However, if you feel tired all the time, this unexplained fatigue can be indicative of a serious underlying condition. Though it is not a very prominent symptom of cervical cancer, constant fatigue or sluggishness can be linked to cervical cancer.
- Changes in bowel movements
There are instances when you feel the need to go to the washroom quite often. Usually, this indicates an underlying urinary tract infection. However, if there’s a leakage of urine or stool into the vagina, you need to pay attention to it. This happens when there’s an abnormal opening i.e., fistula, present between the vagina and the bladder or rectum.
- Weight loss
One of the most prominent symptoms of any type of cancer is the serious fluctuations in the individual’s weight. Sudden and unexplained weight loss is one of the prominent symptoms of cervical cancer.