Cervical Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Options
Cervical cancer symptoms tend to remain discreet and unsuspected for a long period of time. When they finally emerge the tumor is already advanced in most cases.
Cervical cancer is a form of uterine cancers. Cancer of the uterus can concern either the cervix or the endometrium, the uterine lining. Both types are most often due to sexual contamination by human papilloma virus (HPV). The treatment depends on many criteria such as the age of the patient, the stage or characteristic of the tumor: localized or metastasized. In general, cervical cancer treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or brachytherapy, use of radioactive substances near the tumor.
Cervical Cancer Symptoms and Warning Signs
It often happens this cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Cervical cancer symptoms often appear after the tumor has spread in neighboring tissues and organs. In this case, the tumor often manifests its presence by vaginal bleeding outside normal periods of menstruation. A speculum examination, along with a biopsy of the tumor, can highlight the cancerous cells and confirm the diagnosis.
Other medical conditions can have similar characteristics as cervical cancer symptoms. However, consult your doctor if you experience the following warning signs of the disease:
- Bleeding after intercourse;
- Foul vaginal discharge and odor;
- Pain during sexual intercourse;
- More abundant vaginal discharge;
- Unusually long or abundant menstruation;
- Bleeding after pelvic examination or vaginal douche;
- Pale, watery, pink, brown or bloody vaginal discharge between menstruation;
- Vaginal bleeding and bloody vaginal discharge after menopause are two common cervical cancer symptoms. In most women, menopause occurs between 45 and 55 years of age.
Late cervical cancer symptoms occur when the tumor grows or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs. They often include:
- Blood in stool;
- Abnormal weight loss;
- Shortness of breath;
- Bone pain;
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy;
- Loss of appetite;
- Difficulty in urinating;
- Loss of bladder control (incontinence);
- Blood in the urine (hematuria);
- Difficult bowel movement;
- Leakage of urine or stool through the vagina;
- Pain in the pelvic region or lower back, which may descend along one or both legs;
- Swelling (edema) of the legs;
- Anemia (decrease in the number of healthy red blood cells).
Cervical cancer symptoms and signs that need immediate attention
Relatively discreet, some warning signs should alert you. These are mainly abnormal losses: light bleeding occurring between the menstrual periods or after menopause, small pinkish or brownish lesions … These problems can be caused by non serious micro-trauma (sexual intercourse, travel, toilets …) but they should bring you to see a medical professional if they persist.
A gynecological exam can then be performed to confirm or rule out the existence of the cancer. Once the tumor is found its stage of development will be specified by other diagnostic procedures.