Cervical cancer is a malignant disease where cancerous cells form in the tissues of the cervix or the narrow end of the uterus area. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, cervical cancer is the second deadliest cancer second only to breast cancer. It affects 10,000 women in the United States each year. Most are between the ages of 35 and 55. Identifying the symptoms is important in diagnosing and treatment of cervical cancer.
Vaginal bleeding should only occur during menstrual periods. Unusual bleeding from the pelvic area or the uterus is an indication of abnormalities leading to cervical cancer. Post-coital bleeding or vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse is a leading symptom of cervical cancer. High risk factors are those with multiple sexual partners, early sexual intercourse among young women, early or childhood pregnancies or those who have sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Unusual Vaginal Discharge
Unusual vaginal discharges accompanied by green-yellow or bloody secretions are possible indicators of cervical cancer. These abnormal discharges are foul-smelling (more like fishy odor), accompanied by itchiness, burning sensation, swelling of the vaginal lips, painful urination and sexual intercourse. This condition can also be signs of vaginal wart or vaginitis or infection or inflammation of the vagina. Practicing safe sex is important to avoid this type of infection.
Pelvic pain or abdominal pain below the naval (umbilicus) is a cervical cancer indicator. Congestion in the pelvic area, which houses the female reproductive system and shares space with the urinary and part of the digestive systems, may produce pelvic pain especially when cervical cancer cells apply additional pressure. This pain increases during strenuous activities, including sexual intercourse. If pain persists, medical attention should be sought. Pelvic pain during menstruation, also known as menstrual cramp, is not an indicator of cervical cancer.
Lower Back Pain
Although considered less common among the prominent symptoms of cervical cancer, low back pain can indicate ovarian or uterine cancer, or other abnormal cell activities in those organs. This symptom is not specific to cervical cancer alone and is common in cases of rheumatism or muscle pains.
Sexual Intercourse Pain
Clinically termed as dyspareunia, sexual pain comes at the beginning and during sexual intercourse. It is a recurrent genital pain that may be superficial or deep, depending on the extent of the disorder. When the penis starts to enter the vagina, the pelvic muscles tighten, increasing the pain even more, making the sexual activity an uncomfortable experience. Experiencing deep pain during and after sexual intercourse is a possible indicator of cancer cell growths in the cervical area.