Women's Health

Cervical Cancer: Causes, Diagnosis and Symptoms

Cervical cancer symptoms
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Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even when it spreads to other parts of the body later. Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women worldwide. The first being breast cancer. The most common cervical cancer symptoms majorly affect the cervix. 

The cervix is the narrow, lower end of the uterus. The cervix connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus. The womb or the uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. These are the body parts that suffer the most because of the Cervical cancer symptoms. 

The Cause

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the main root for causing this cancer in women. HPV is a common virus that is contracted from one person to another during sexual intercourse. According to medical studies at least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but among them a few women will get cervical cancer.

All sexually active women are at risk of suffering from it. It usually occurs most often in women over the age 30.  In addition to having HPV, these factors can also contribute to cervical cancer in women:

  • Smoking.
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years).
  • Having given birth to three or more children.
  • Being HIV positive

The Symptoms

Symptoms of cervical cancer don’t usually become apparent unless it has reached an advanced stage. Symptoms might also be confused as indications of other problems like yeast infection or a urinary tract infection.

Here is the list of Cervical cancer symptoms :

  • abnormal bleeding, such as bleeding after sex, after a pelvic exam, or after menopause and between menstrual periods,
  • pelvic pain
  • painful urination
  • discharge that’s unusual in amount, color, consistency, or smell
  • having to go to urinate more frequently

The Diagnosis

There are two tests that can either help avoid cervical cancer or find it early.

The first one is through a Pap test (or Pap smear), which looks for precancerous cell changes on the cervix that can be treated. The Pap test can find cervical cancer early which is when treatment is most effective. The Pap test is recommended for women who have has sexual intercourse aged 21-65 years old.

The HPV test looks for HPV, the virus that can cause cervical cancer and precancerous cell changes.

As with all diseases, prevention is better than cure so some ways to avoid cervical cancer are to get the HPV vaccine, to have protected sex, have regular PAP tests and quit smoking.

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