Cervical cancer, like any form of cancer, can be a bit difficult and scary to talk about.
Being the second most common form of cancer for women worldwide, it can completely alter the reproductive system by causing damage and even the need for a hysterectomy.
And just as with breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer, there is a chance of it spreading to other parts of the body.
But fortunately, there are helpful medical systems set in place to monitor the health of the cervix and make sure that nothing is amiss.
Additionally, it’s a cancer that frequently takes years to form, starting with pre-cancerous cells that often don’t turn into anything more.
This gives us the chance to stay on top of any possible infection and take the proper steps to make sure they don’t get worse.
Depending on if you are precancerous or not, identifying symptoms can tell you earlier than your next Pap smear that the cells have turned cancerous.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to the cervix; check down below to learn a little bit more about cervical cancer and its possible symptoms.
What Is The Cervix?
The cervix plays a very important role in your reproductive system. The cylindrical, donut-shaped orifice connects both the uterus and the vagina.
WebMD explains the different portions of the cervix as such: the ectocervix, the round outer tissue that can be seen during a Pap smear; the endocervix, which is its internal canal; and the transformation zone, which is the overlapping border.
The cervix also dilates different amounts to accommodate everything from menstrual flow to babies being born.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer begins with precancerous cells that line the uterus.
In many cases, these cells disappear before they turn, and take many years to eventually form cancer.
But, if left untreated, the cancerous cells could spread, creating massive consequences for the reproductive system.
The cancer is categorized based on the types of cells affected as well as where it occurs in the cervix (either the ectocervix, the endocervix, and the transformation zone).
It’s also commonly formed by human papillomavirus or HPV, which is an STI that could cause multiple symptoms depending on the strain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer?
Symptom #1: Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Abnormal vaginal bleeding could be sign that there is something in your system causing it to be unbalanced.
This can include bleeding after menopause, spotting in between periods, bleeding after vaginal intercourse, or bleeding after a pelvic exam.
Symptom #2: Unusual Vaginal Discharge
Unusual discharge can also occur, which could entail discharge containing blood, which can happen between periods and after menopause.
Since the cervix produces mucus that changes in consistency depending on your hormone level, cancer cells can cause it to change.
Symptom #3: Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can be a sign that there are changes going on internally in your body.
However, pelvic pain can also be a sign for plenty of other ailments, so speaking with a healthcare provider can help you narrow down the cause.
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