Cervical cancer is a common type of cancer in women. According to experts, almost 13,000 women in the US alone are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Cervical cancer is also expected to account for almost 4,000 deaths this year. These numbers are shocking!
Like in the case of any other cancer, the chances of survival greatly increases if the disease is detected early. Therefore, do not ignore the following common symptoms of cervical cancer, especially if you experience more than one of these or if any of these symptoms you have is severe.
1 Irregular Vaginal Bleeding
One of the most common symptoms of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Vaginal bleeding between menstrual cycles can point towards cervical cancer. When cancer spreads, new capillaries begin to form which break up easily, in turn causing vaginal bleeding.
Such episodes of bleeding can occur between menstrual cycles, after menopause or sexual intercourse, and during or after a pelvic examination. Do consult your doctor straight away if you experience untimely vaginal bleeding.
On the other hand, irregular vaginal bleeding can occur due to other reasons. An infection or inflammation in the pelvic and hormonal imbalance can lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding, as could some other medical conditions.
2 Unusual Vaginal Discharge
A foul-smelling or brown-colored vaginal discharge can be a cause of worry. Patients suffering from cervical cancer often experience heavy, brown-colored, watery, pale, or blood-stained vaginal discharge.
Do check with your doctor if you experience an abnormal discharge instead of the normal clear, odorless discharge.
3 Pain During Sexual Intercourse
Another common warning sign is painful sexual intercourse. Usually, pain during intercourse is felt in cases of advanced cervical cancer, that is, when cancer has spread to your reproductive organs. In addition to the pain, you may also notice a foul-smelling, thicken discharge from the vagina.
Pain during intercourse can also occur because of a vaginal infection. However, you should not ignore this symptom and should find out the root cause of the issue.
4 Discomfort While Urinating
Another common symptom associated with this cancer is experiencing discomfort every time you urinate. You may feel a stinging or burning sensation while passing urine.
Urinary discomfort occurs when the nearby tissues become cancerous. Immediate medical examination and treatment is advised as it may help prevent any further damage.
Apart from cervical cancer, other causes of discomfort while urinating include the following: STD, an infection of the urinary tract or bladder problems.
5 Abnormally Long And Heavy Periods
It is not uncommon for cervical cancer patients to experience menstrual periods that are longer and heavier than normal. When the sanitary napkin has to be replaced more often than once in 2 hours, the bleeding is adjudged as heavy.
Spreading of cervical cancer, quite understandably, causes irritation of the cervix which in turn causes the bleeding. Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Of course, long and heavy periods can happen because of other medical conditions like kidney or liver disease, inflammation in the pelvis, fibroids, or polyps, to name a few.
6 Pelvic Pain
Among women, pain or cramping in pelvic is not an out of the ordinary issue. It often occurs during the menstrual cycle and as such is usually not a cause of worry. However, frequent and long durations of pelvic pain can indicate cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer patients experience pelvic pain at any time and not only during menstruation. More often than not, abnormal pelvic pain due to cervical cancer occurs only in the advanced stages of cancer.
Visit a doctor to investigate what is causing your pelvic pain if it is different from the normal menstrual pain.
7 Incontinence (Loss of Bladder Control)
Incontinence is a common issue in pregnant women. Increased fluid intake can also lead to this problem. In case you’re experiencing loss of bladder control without any apparent reason, do get it checked.
Loss of bladder control is a common symptom of cervical cancer and is indicative that cancer has spread to other areas in the urinary tract. Often, incontinence due to cervical cancer is accompanied by traces of blood in the urine.
8 Constant Fatigue
There is a difference in feeling tired and burnt out after a busy day, and feeling tired frequently or all of the time without any explicable reason. While the former is a normal result of working too hard, the latter should be a cause of concern as it points toward an underlying physical or psychological problem.
When a person is suffering from cancer, white blood cells replace red blood cells to counter the disease. As a result, anemia ensues. Anemia, in turn, leads to fatigue, constant tiredness, and low energy levels, a loss of appetite as well as a reduced supply of live-supporting oxygen in red blood cells to the body.
If you are experiencing any anemic symptoms, it could be a sign of rapidly progressing cancer.
9 Leg Pain
Pain and swelling in the legs is another frequently experienced symptom of cervical cancer. These symptoms happen because of the spreading of cancer which restricts the flow of blood. In cervical cancer, leg pain increases in intensity gradually and can be accompanied by pain in the back.
However, deducing if one has cancer solely on the basis of leg pain or swelling of the legs would be a mistake. Leg pain can occur because of a number of reasons. However, in combination with one or more of the other symptoms of cervical cancer, it is best to diagnose thoroughly the cause of leg pain.
10 Unexpected Weight Loss
Weight loss occurs in all cancers, including cervical cancers. To fight cancer, the body releases cytokines, which are small proteins that cause the breakdown of fat at a much faster rate than normal, leading to rapid loss of weight.
If you are losing weight for no apparent reason and have one or more of the symptoms listed above, there is a possibility of you suffering from cervical cancer. Visit a doctor immediately and get a medical checkup done.