Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
The American Cancer Society reports that cervical cancer is usually found in women aged 35 to 44, with the typical age of diagnosis being 50.
However, women of all ages are at risk of developing cervical cancer, and it is important to be aware of the early warning signs.
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What are the early warning signs of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer usually does not have symptoms in its early stages.
This is one of the reasons why it is important for women to get regular Pap tests.
A Pap test is a screening test that can detect precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix.
If these changes are found early, they can be treated before they develop into cancer.
However, there are some cases in which women with early cervical cancer do experience symptoms.
These can include:
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina, which may occur during sex, after menopause, or between periods
- Persistent pelvic pain
- Unusual discharge from the vagina (Watery or bloody discharge and can have a foul odor).
- Pain during urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lower back pain
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor right away.
What is the main cause of cervical cancer?
The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
In most cases, the body is able to clear the virus on its own.
However, in some cases, the virus can stay in the body for many years and cause changes in the cells of the cervix.
These changes can eventually lead to cervical cancer.
Other risk factors for cervical cancer include:
- A history of sexually transmitted infections
- A weak immune system
- Long-term use of birth control pills
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having a family history of cervical cancer
Is cervical cancer usually curable?
Cervical cancer is usually curable when it is found early.
However, if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it can be more difficult to treat.
In these cases, treatment may focus on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.
If you think you may be at risk for cervical cancer, it is important to talk to your doctor.
They can help you determine if you need to be tested and, if so, how often.
There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but catching it early gives you the best chance for a successful outcome.
How to prevent cervical cancer
The best way to prevent cervical cancer is to have regular screenings, such as a Pap test.
This can help catch precancerous cells so they can be treated before they turn into cancer.
Other ways to lower your risk include:
- Getting the HPV vaccine
- Limiting your number of sexual partners
- Quitting smoking
- Using condoms during intercourse
- Eating a healthy diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
If you think you may have cervical cancer or are experiencing any symptoms, please see your doctor.
Early detection is key to a successful outcome.