Cervical cancer refers to the cancer of the cervix, the part of the female reproductive system that connects a woman’s vagina and her womb. All women, regardless of age, can develop cervical cancer but it is most common among those aged 30 to 45 years old.
In addition, it is extremely rare in women below the age of 25.
What causes cervical cancer?
The cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be contracted mainly through sexual intercourse. It should be noted that HPV is not just one virus. In fact, there are over a hundred kinds.
They can be transmitted through sex as well as other sexual activities, including genitalia skin coming in contact.
There are numerous cases of women getting HPV without requiring treatment as they often clear up on their own. Nevertheless, when the infection does not heal, it can result in the development of abnormal cells which would ultimately lead to cervical cancer.
What are the symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of cervical cancer are not always evident.
Sometimes, a woman with cervical cancer may not even experience any symptoms until the infection is already in the late stage. And sometimes, no symptoms manifest at all. Thus, you should get screened for it regularly.
The most common symptom of cervical cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding. It is regarded as “unusual” if it occurs at any other time aside from your menstrual period.
More often than not, this unusual bleeding happens after you have sexual intercourse. Another example is bleeding that occurs even after you go through menopause.
Other symptoms of cervical cancer include the following:
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain in the cervix area
It is important to note that you may experience the above-mentioned symptoms without being positive for cervical cancer. It may also be due to another condition.
What are the risk factors?
As mentioned earlier, HPV infection is extremely common. However, some women are more predisposed to developing cervical cancer than others.
Having children is one of the factors associated with cervical cancer. A woman who already has children has twice the chances of developing cancer than a woman who has no children.
In addition, the more kids you have, the higher your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Another factor can be the pill. A woman taking birth control pills are believed to have twice the chances of getting cervical cancer than a woman who is not on the pill.
The risk is even higher if a woman has been on the pill for over five years already. The reasons have yet to be determined.
What should I do next?
If you have reason to believe that you have cervical cancer, or if you feel that you are at risk of contracting it, you should see a doctor immediately.
Get tested for it. The earlier it gets detected, the sooner you can start treatment.
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