As we come to the end of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, we just wanted to remind you of the ten signs associated with Cervical Cancer. If you’re experiencing one or more of these signs consult your doctors. As while they may have absolutely nothing to do with Cervical Cancer, early detection dramatically improves the chances of successful treatment.
Cervical cancer can often be found early, and it can sometimes even be prevented by having regular screening tests. Key to that success is early detection; Cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
While vaginal bleeding, a non-specific symptom it is well known to be related to cervical cancer. Vaginal bleeding after intercourse is a more specific sign associated with this condition, and it could be one of the earliest first signs to show up. If you are experiencing bleeding from the vagina that is not related to your normal menstrual cycle, you should speak with your doctor for proper diagnosis.
Dyspareunia is the term used that refers to painful sexual intercourse. The pain can be felt deep in the pelvis or external surface of the genitalia.
However, there are numerous causes of dyspareunia. Ranging from; a lack of lubrication due to hormonal reasons. Vaginal infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical polyps, genitourinary tract infections, tissue injury, anatomic variations, cervical cancer, etc.
Anaemia is a condition identified by a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood. This condition produces a reduction in oxygen transport which explains the dizziness and fatigue connected with it. In cervical cancer patients, abnormal vaginal bleeding causes a considerable loss of blood, leading to anaemia.
In typical cases, vaginal discharge consists of a mixture of cells, liquid, and bacteria that protects and lubricates the vagina. This mixture is produced by cells of the cervix and vagina while exiting through the vaginal opening. The quality, composition, and amount of discharge vary according to the other reproductive and sexual development stages for different individuals. Normal discharge is usually watery, thin, sticky, thick, and transparent. In cervical cancer, the vaginal discharge is copious, watery, pink, bloody, and can be foul-smelling.
Dysuria is the medical term used to describe pain when you pee, and again this a non-specific symptom associated with many conditions. The pain can be mild or severe, depending on various conditions.
In patients who have cervical cancer, dysuria may arise as the disease progresses and invades the bladder. Another way that this symptom appears is through compression of the ureters by the growing tumour.
Oliguria is the medical term used to describe a decrease in the urinary outflow – in other words, a reduction in the number of times a day you require to use the bathroom. Because many conditions may cause this symptom to appear, you shouldn’t rely on this symptom alone.
As cervical cancer progresses, it can start to affect other organs. When the tumour gets too big, it can compress structures like the ureters, causing oliguria.
Cachexia or wasting syndrome as it is also known as occurs when the individual is suffering from fatigue, weakness, weight loss and muscle wasting in somebody who is not actively trying to lose weight. Cachexia can be seen among patients with celiac disease, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
Patients who have cervical cancer may lose weight as the disease progresses; unfortunately, this symptom signals a poor diagnosis when seen in cancer patients.
Oedema is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the interstitium (the fluid-filled spaces in tissue that are connected throughout the body) causing pain and swelling. Oedema can be referred to as “pitting” when there is persistent indentation after pressure is applied and released on an area. In pregnancy, oedema can be caused by varicose veins, heart failure, dermatitis, thrombophlebitis, lipedema, lymphedema, myxedema, and more.
In cervical cancer, leg oedema suggests that there is vascular or lymphatic obstruction caused by the tumour’s growth. If you are experiencing this symptom and other cervical cancer symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Hematuria suggests there is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It is divided into gross or microscopic hematuria; the naked eye can only see gross hematuria while microscopic hematuria is only detected through a urine dipstick or urinalysis. Hematuria can occur when the kidneys or urinary tract are affected. In cervical cancer, the tumour’s growth along the epithelial surface can invade the bladder and rectum, causing constipation, hematuria, fistula, and more.
Constipation occurs when bowel movements are hard or infrequent. The stool can be hard and dry. Other symptoms associated with constipation can include stomach bloating and abdominal pains. The complications of constipation include faecal impaction, haemorrhoids, and anal fissure. In advanced cervical cancer cases, the disease can invade the rectum, causing this symptom to appear. If you suddenly experience a change in your bowel movement habits, you should seek medical attention and have a proper examination.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, many of the signs we have listed out here may result from several or more issues and may have nothing to do with having Cervical cancer. However, if you show any or more of these signs, you should consult with your doctor. Remember, Cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers if detected early.
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Cancer Pro is the voice of the world’s cancer physicians and oncology professionals in Malaysia and is the trusted compassionate resource for people with cancer, their families and caregivers. For more information regarding how to spot one or more of the signs associated with Cervical cancer, please visit www. cancer-pro.com.