Cervical cancer symptoms

Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a sexually transmitted infection called HPV or human papillomavirus. When a woman is exposed to HPV, her immune system normally protects her and prevents the virus from causing medical problems. In a few women however, HPV can survive for many years and eventually will convert cells on the cervix into cancerous cells. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer affecting the reproductive organs of women and typically occurs in women who are over the age of 30. Due to Pap screening, the death rates from cervical cancer have significantly decreased over the past few years. Most cases today can be prevented by a vaccine in younger women and adolescent girls.

The symptoms of cervical cancer vary from woman to woman and very often go completely unnoticed because they mimic many other medical conditions. Most women in the earliest stages of cervical cancer do not even report their symptoms because they believe that the symptoms are simply ovulation pain or PMS related. Most cases of cervical cancer do not present symptoms at all.

When symptoms do present themselves, they typically do not show up until cervical cancer is in a very advanced stage. Again, this varies from woman to woman. One of the most common cervical cancer symptoms is abnormal bleeding. Bleeding can be very light to very heavy throughout the month and is typically not related to the menstrual period. Bleeding after sexual intercourse or in between regular menstrual periods should be reported to your doctor right away. Also, any bleeding after a pelvic exam or after douching can be a symptom of cervical cancer.

Unusual heavy discharge is another commonly reported symptom of cervical cancer. Increased vaginal discharge, particularly when it is accompanied by a foul odor or is thick, watery and/or contains mucus should be reported to your doctor. Pain in the pelvic area that is not related to your normal menstrual period or cycle can also point to cervical cancer. The pain can be very mild to severe enough to cause concern and can range from a dull aching pain to sharp stabbing pains that last for several hours. Pain during urination should also be reported to your doctor. This is often a symptom of advanced cervical cancer and is typically present when the cancer spreads to the bladder.

It is important to understand that the symptoms of cervical cancer are also listed as the symptoms for many other medical conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your physician as soon as possible. If you do have cervical cancer symptoms it does not necessarily mean that you have the disease. Again, the symptoms of cervical cancer are often the same for other disorders. Your symptoms could be signaling something much less serious. This is why it is important that you visit your doctor for testing as soon as possible once you experience any of these symptoms.

Cervical cancer is normally a disease that progresses very slowly. It may take many years before pre-cancerous cells develop into cervical cancer. This is why regular Pap smears are very important. Early detection of this and other cancers can be detrimental in treating the disease and prolonging life in the patient. If you experience any of the symptoms of cervical cancer, your doctor will likely do a Pap smear as well as a pelvic examination. You will be asked about your personal history as well as your family history to determine if there are any predetermining factors for cervical cancers. It is important that you do not ignore the symptoms. Even if the symptoms turn out to be something completely different and much less serious than cervical cancer, reporting the symptoms immediately is important.

Last updated on Sep 4th, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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