6 Cervical Cancer Warning Signs That Should Not Be Ignored

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. In most cases, cervical cancer does not cause any noticeable signs and symptoms in the early stages. That is why regular screening is necessary to check for abnormal cells in the organ. If diagnosed on time, the condition can be successfully treated and often cured. So, it’s crucial to be aware of the early warning signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. However, it’s vital to remember that many of these symptoms are common, and experiencing them does not necessarily mean the individual has this particular disease.

6 cervical cancer warning signs

Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is one of the most common warning signs of cervical cancer. The bleeding typically occurs when cancer has spread to tissues around the cervix. Spotting is generally not serious; however, if bleeding occurs in between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause, it could be a sign of cervical cancer. Even unusually longer menstrual periods, heavier menstrual bleeding, or bleeding after a pelvic exam are potential signs that require a medical examination.

Smelly vaginal discharge

While vaginal discharges are natural and normal, if they are watery and foul-smelling, there may be a cause or concern. Smelly discharge usually occurs when a tumor starts to break down. However, it’s important to keep in mind that abnormal discharges also happen because of several other reasons, so there is no need to panic. It’s best that an individual contact their doctor if they are having foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

Leg pain and swelling

We all know that leg pain can be associated with a variety of causes. But when the leg pain comes with swelling, and there is no recent injury, it needs to get checked out. Leg pain and swelling typically occur when the tumor grows and starts pressing against the pelvic wall.

Lower back or pelvic pain

Even lower back or pelvic pain can have multiple causes. However, in women with cervical cancer, persistent pelvic pain that doesn’t go away is one of the most common early warning signs and symptoms. Experts say that this mostly occurs when cervical cancer has reached an advanced stage. So, abnormal pain in the pelvis that only seems to get worse needs to get checked out.

Unexplained weight loss and fatigue

Sudden or extreme weight loss that occurs when a person is not trying to lose weight can be alarming, especially when there is no change in the diet. Just like many other types of cancers, cervical cancer can also cause unexplained weight loss. And if this symptom is accompanied by extreme tiredness, the chances of getting diagnosed with cervical cancer are higher.

Pain during intercourse

Tumor growth throughout the cervix tissue can cause pain during intercourse. It usually is an indication of advanced cervical cancer. However, do keep in mind that pain during intercourse may also occur due to many non-serious issues such as inflammation of the cervix, vaginal infection, or cervical polyps. So, just like every other symptom, this early warning sign of cervical cancer requires a thorough medical examination.

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