Cervical or cervix cancer can be deadly for women. Although statistics about this cancer is frightening, cervical cancer can be prevented, and treated if diagnosed early.
Most often, cervical cancer is caused by HPV or the human papillomavirus. This virus is highly contagious, as it is an STI (sexually transmitted infection) and comes in many types but only some of them cause cervical cancer.
In some cases, a HPV infection might go away on its own, but it also could cause abnormal cell growth that may lead to cervical cancer.
The best-known risk factors for cervical cancer are:
- Low immunity
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having unprotected sex
- Smoking or breathing in second-hand smoke
Cervical cancer may show no obvious or apparent signs as breast cancer, however, there are symptoms which should be alarming if noticed, and a gynecologist must be contacted immediately. These are the following:
When the cancer begins to grow inside the cervix, the cells of the uterine wall begin to rid, which produces a watery discharge.
Pain or bleeding
There may also be rectal or bladder bleeding. Any bleeding outside your menstrual period should be investigated for it may indicate a serious health issue. Cervical cancer grows on the walls of the cervix which can dry out and even crack, causing discomfort and bleeding.
In case of cervix swelling, the bladder and kidneys may be compressed, and they may cause an obstruction of the passage of urine. Consequently, you may not be able to completely empty your bladder, which causes pain and/or a urinary tract infection.
If your heart speeds up after normal exertion, or if you feel fatigue, but you have made no changes in your eating habits, you may have symptoms of anemia. Anemia can be caused by abnormal bleeding, which often accompanies cervical cancer.
“The appearance of small warts (externally or internally) serve as a red flag…diseases such as HPV, which can greatly increases the chances of cervical cancer in women,” according to gynecologist Rosa Maria Leme.
Continuous pain in the legs, hips or back
The swelling cervix also compresses internal organs, as well as blood vessels, which can make it difficult for blood to reach the pelvis and legs. This can lead to pain and swelling in the legs and ankles.
Most forms of cancers decrease or even suppress appetite. The swelling of the cervix can also compress the stomach, causing decreased appetite and weight loss.
For an STI is the most common cause of cervical cancer, it is recommended to observe the signs and symptoms of HPV. Additionally, preventative exams like a pap smear can help detect cervical cancer early on. Those preventive exams (like a pap smear) should be done annually.
Nevertheless, take note that these symptoms do not necessarily signify cervical cancer, so only a doctor can make a diagnosis. There are risk factors for developing HPV, and can be contracted by both sexes.