10 Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Did you know that cervical cancer was once the leading cause of death for American women?
The last 30 years have shown a drastic reduction in that number thanks to articles like this one. Awareness and screening has helped reduce the death rate of cervical cancer but its occurrence is still staggering.
In 2014 nearly 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed.
Here are 10 signs most commonly associated with the early stages of cervical cancer and if caught early can reduce the risk of mortality from the disease:
1. Leg Pain
This symptom can often go undetected but is one of the first physical signs of a problem. When inflicted with cancer cells, the cervix will swell and reduce blood flow to the lower extremities, leaving the legs pained and swollen.
2. Painful Urination
The cervix and urinary tract are more intertwined than you might think. Urinary tract infections can be the result of lingering bacteria from the vaginal walls and much like the pain from this infection, cervical cancer can irritate and inflame the muscles around the bladder and make peeing very uncomfortable. Generally this pain will be a sure sign of the cancer spreading to cervix surrounding tissues, and should be immediately attended to.
3. Abnormal Discharge
Normal vaginal discharge should be relatively odorless and without much color, but one of the first indications of a problem in the cervix is a discharge which is potent in both color and smell. Yeast infections should not go untreated as they could be a sign of further disease fighting infection.
4. Unusual Bleeding
One of the most common and alarming symptoms of cervical cancer is persistent and unscheduled bleeding. When struggling with cancer cells, the cervix will make attempts to shed it’s protective lining and the result is bright red blood, uncommon to that of menstruation.
5. Uncomfortable Intercourse
Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful or uncomfortable sensation in the cervix when involved in sexual penetration. Sometimes a symptom of other medical conditions, it is by no means something to ignore.
6. Irregular Menstruation
For most women, there is a level of normalcy or consistency to their menstrual cycle, and any sudden changes or missed periods could be an indication of poor health. If inconsistencies persist, take note of any daily dietary changes or medication and talk to your health care practitioner.
7. Irregular Urination
Similar to the menstrual cycle, the urinary tract should function on a cycle and one of the first symptoms of cervical cancer is irregular urination or incontinence. More alarming is the appearance of blood in urine and could signal a severe stage of cervical cancer.
8. Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain is not uncommon for many women, but severe or sharp pain in the pelvic area outside of menstruation could indicate trouble.
9. Lower Back Pain
Sometimes pelvic pain can radiate and affect the muscles supporting the lower back, causing them to constrict and tighten. It is important that you pay attention to the cause of any lower back pain as it is often the most undiagnosed symptom of cervical cancer.
10. Drastic Weight Loss and Fatigue
Cervical cancer, not unlike other cancers, reduces the production of healthy red blood cells and as a result white blood cell count can leave the body weak and fatigued. A lack of appetite can also be symptomatic of cervical cancer stress on the body.
Image Source: Health Digezt
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