What Are The Early Signs Of Cervical Cancer And How Can It Be Detected?

Cervical Cancer - Sriramakrishnahospital

Cancer that originates in the cervix is referred to as cervical cancer. The cervix is a thin tube that connects the lower part of a woman’s uterus to her vagina. Most cancers of the cervix start in cells on the cervix’s surface.

What is referred to as the cervix and what is its function?

The cervix is the narrow, lower portion of the uterus that attaches to the vagina. Between the uterus and vagina, fluids like menstrual blood and sperm can pass through the cervix. It also gets bigger when the child is born. The ectocervix and endocervix is the part of the cervix that can be seen on the outside. The endocervix is the part of the cervix that is inside and connects the vagina to the uterus through a tube.

What are the 5 major signs that indicate cervical cancer?

Usually women may not show any early signs of cervical cancer unless the tumor has further progressed. As the cancer progresses the signs become evident. Here are five major signs that indicate cervical cancer:

Abnormal vaginal bleeding:

  • Many women who have irregular periods or spotting now and then but changes that are out of the ordinary for you could mean something more is concerning is going on. 
  • If you have unusual vaginal bleeding, like during or after sex, between periods or after menopause, or if your periods are heavier than normal, this could be a sign that cervical cancer is getting worse. 

Unusual discharge:

  • Even though it’s normal to have vaginal discharge, the type of discharge you have could tell you something about your vaginal health. 
  • If you have cervical cancer, you may have discharge that smells bad and is pink, brown or even red. It can be hard to tell if your discharge is a sign of cervical cancer or one of the many other things that could cause it. 
  • This is another reason to get regular checkups to make sure that there is nothing concerning. 

Experiencing a painful intercourse:

  • When a tumor grows in a woman’s cells and reproductive organs, it can cause pain during sexual activity. 
  • This is especially true for women with advanced cervical cancer. 
  • There are many other things that can also cause pain during sexual activity. 

Experiencing sharp pain in the pelvic region:

  • Menstrual cramps are common, but they aren’t the only thing that can hurt the pelvic area. 
  • When you don’t have a period, pelvic pain may be a sign that something is wrong. 
  • The pain could be sharp or dull, and it could be all over the pelvic areas or just in one place. 
  • Physical discomfort serves as a warning signal from the body.  

Complications in bowel movements:

  • Cervical cancer can sometimes change the way a woman urinates or even passes bowels. 
  • If you have to go to the toilet more than often and for longer periods of time, or if the consistency of stools changes over time, this could mean that the cancer has spread to the kidneys, bladder or stomach. 

What are different types of cervical cancers?

It is divided into two main types of cervical cancers: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Each is differentiated by the appearance of cells under a microscope.

What are the risk factors that put women at risk for developing cervical cancer?

cervical cancer anatomy - Sriramakrishnahospital

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is almost always the cause of cervical cancer. When HPV turns into pre-cancerous cells or cervical cancer, it can take more than ten years. 

The cervix can be infected by both low-risk and high-risk HPV. Low-risk types don’t cause cervical cancer, but they can cause oral warts and abnormal results on cervical screening tests. If you have a high-risk type of HPV for a long time, it could cause cervical cancer or cells that could turn into cancer. 

HPV is very common and can be spread through any kind of sexual contact. This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex as well as close touching. 

Most people get HPV at some point in their lives, and most of the time they don’t even know it. Most of the time, the virus is gone from the body within two years. But sometimes HPV doesn’t go away on its own, and over time it can change the way the cells in the cervix behave.

Even though the signs may only show up after the disease has further progressed cervical cancers but cervical cancers can be diagnosed early through screening tests.

What is a screening test?

A Pap test, which is part of cervix screening, can find abnormal cells in the cervix before they turn into cancer. Cervical cancer can be stopped if these abnormal cells are found and handled as soon as possible. If you get a Pap test every three years, you can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by up to 70%, according to research. Reach out to Cervical Cancer specialist in Coimbatore if your results are positive after a screening test. 

What happens during a cervical cancer screening?

  • A doctor can do a PAP cervical cancer test in their office or clinic.
  • When you are at ease, the health care professional will insert a speculum into your vagina so they can observe your cervix. 
  • Then, the doctor or nurse will take some cells from your cervix with a small tool or brush. 
  • Most of the time, a cervix exam is not painful, but it can be uncomfortable. 
  • The sample is then sent to a lab where it will be looked at. 
  • Your health care provider will be told how you did. If there are any strange cells, your doctor or nurse will get in touch with you.
  • Even if you get an abnormal result, it doesn’t mean you have cancer. 
  • But it’s very important to go to all of your follow-up visits.

What are the different diagnostic tests that help diagnose cervical cancer?

Colonoscopy:

Colposcopy is a process in which the doctor puts a thin tube called a speculum into the vagina to gently open it and look at the cervix. The doctor or nurse then puts a tool called a colposcope near the vagina. It has a bright light and an enlarged lens that let the doctor see the cervix more clearly.

Biopsy:

During a biopsy, a piece of tissue is taken from the cervix so a doctor can look at it under a microscope to see if it shows any signs of cancer. 

There are various other imaging procedures like PET-CT scan to help diagnose cervical cancer. 

Important Takeaway:

Undergoing screenings to detect cervical cancer are important as they help in early detection as mentioned early in many women the signs only start in the second stage of cancer. With early detection the chances of complete recovery is high and also recurrence rate is extremely low. Visit a cancer hospital in Coimbatore to get early diagnosis and prompt treatment.


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