Until about 40 years ago, cervical cancer represented one of the greatest threats of death from cancer in women. Today, due to medical and technological advances, deaths from this disease have declined significantly, although it continues to be a threat. Research, medicine and technological advancement have been able to determine key symptoms that permit the detection of the disease in time to give early treatment. For this reason, it is important that all women are well informed about the warning signs of this disease and consult a doctor early if they feel they are at risk.
What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?
Knowing the risk factors for cervical cancer is also very important for prevention or timely detection. With this information women can identify if they are potentially at risk of developing the disease.
- Infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV virus is a major cause of cervical cancer. It is transmitted through sexual intercourse and can usually be detected with a Pap smear or by detection of warts in the genital area.
- Diet: A poor diet can lead to a state of being overweight or obesity in women, which increases the risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Genetics: Women who have a genetic history of cervical cancer have three times the risk of developing this disease.
- HIV: this virus weakens the immune system and puts the body at a higher risk of becoming infected with HPV.
- Consumption of tobacco or snuff.
- Early age of first sexual intercourse.
- High number of children.
- Menopause after age 52.
- High blood pressure.
- Exposure to high levels of estrogen.
What are the warning signs of cervical cancer?
One of the disadvantages of cancer is that it is often a silent disease in its early stages; this is one of the reasons why there continue to be many deaths from this disease. However, being warned in time by the symptoms that may seem common is key to timely detection and treatment.
One of the symptoms that can occur in the early stages of cervical cancer is pain and swelling in the legs. This happens because the cervix swells and prevents normal blood flow, ultimately causing this painful sensation.
Vaginal discharge is normal when it is secreted infrequently and without color or odor. If vaginal discharge increases, it secretes more often, it smells and has an irregular appearance, it is best to consult a doctor because it can be a clear symptom of cervical cancer.
This is one of the most common symptoms of cervical cancer. Some women have irregular periods and should consult a physician to determine the possible cause of the irregularity. If until now your periods have been normal and now you start bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse, it is important to take warning and consult with a doctor.
What happens following urination can help detect cervical cancer in several ways. The most obvious symptom is discomfort with urination, such as itching, tightness and other sensations that make you feel uncomfortable. This symptom, in the vast majority of cases, is indicative of a urinary tract infection, but when these urinary symptoms are frequent and lasting, it is very important to seek immediate medical attention.
Apart from the discomfort, changes in urination habits can also be a key signal to detect this disease. If you begin to suffer from incontinence, urinating more often than usual, or you notice a discoloration, these are key warning signs.
Pain during sexual intercourse
Feeling discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse is another key symptom in the detection of cervical cancer. In this case, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the reason for your pain during sexual intercourse.
Pelvic pain is usually very common during a menstrual cycle. However, when the cramps and pelvic pain last longer than normal, or are more frequent or more intense, it is important to be alert and consult a specialist.