Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide. This year, 12,900 American women will be diagnosed, and 4,100 women will die from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As part of January’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, 21st Century Oncology wants to raise awareness about this often silent but deadly disease. As with all cancers, prevention and early detection is key to successful treatment. Below are the five most common cervical cancer symptoms that women should be aware of.
- Abnormal Pap Test – Abnormal cervical cell changes will normally not produce any noticeable symptoms, so it is extremely important for women to be vigilant about getting a regular pelvic exam. If a pap test shows abnormal cell changes, your doctor will run other tests to determine if they are precancerous or cancerous cells.
- Abnormal bleeding – Women should pay attention to any bleeding in between menstrual periods, following sex, and after menopause.
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis – Ongoing abdominal pain or discomfort, including indigestion, pressure, bloating and cramps, can signal cancer.
- Painful sexual intercourse – Pain during and after sex can be a common early symptom of cervical changes.
- Abnormal discharge – Bloody and dark discharge or discharge with a foul odor can be a sign of cervical cancer, though it is more commonly a sign of infection. Any kind of unusual discharge is a good reason to schedule a doctor’s visit.
- Swollen leg – Though rare, a leg that looks or feels swollen for no apparent reason can be a sign of cervical cancer. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as pain and discharge.
For more information about the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer, go to https://www.21co.com/radiation-therapy/types-of-cancer/cervical.