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Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. According to the World Health Organization, statistics in 2018 show that about half a million women were diagnosed with it, and more than half of those diagnosed died from it. This cancer is linked to high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus common among people but affects women more than men.
This Cervical Cancer Awareness Month of January is important for women to recognize this health risk by staying well-informed. While the early stages of cervical cancer are often undetectable, there are alarming signs that you have to be wary of. Consult a doctor at once when you experience one or more of these five common signs of cervical cancer.
5 Signs of Cervical Cancer
- Unusual Menstrual Bleeding
Notice if there are some irregularities in your menstrual cycle. Signs that may indicate cervical cancer include light bleeding before or between your period cycles or long and heavy flow during your period.
However, do not immediately jump to conclusions if you are experiencing these signs. They can also be common occurrences caused by other factors, such as taking new birth control pills or even stress. These signs only become alarming if you also experience other signs in this list.
- Changes in Vaginal Discharge
It is normal for women to have vaginal discharges that may change in odor and viscosity depending on where the body is in its ovulation cycle. However, it does become alarming when it increases and becomes a watery consistency. It can also come in pink or brownish color with a foul odor.
- Pain During Intercourse
Sharp or unfamiliar pain or a great deal of discomfort, whether intermittent or constant, during sex is cause for concern. Bleeding after intercourse is also a common sign.
- Unexplainable Back or Pelvic Pain
This sign refers to unusual discomfort in the abdomen below the navel. The pain may manifest as a sharp pain or an ache resembling a cramp.
- Bleeding after menopause
Most women experience menopause in their late 40s or 50s. Cervical cancer affects most women between the ages 35 to 50, which lines up these two life stages. If you have gone through menopause and suddenly started bleeding again, it is most advisable to check with your doctor as this sign is a major indicator of cervical cancer.
As stated previously, there is no way of detecting this type of cancer in the earliest stages. That is why it is important to stay mindful of your sexual health, especially if you or your partner had been active with other partners previously. There is no shame in visiting the doctor for a regular check-up now and then to stay on the safe side. Ask questions, be honest, and take charge of your body’s health this cervical cancer awareness month.
Also Read: How to Check Yourself for Breast Cancer