Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer among women today. It happens when the cells in the cervix – the lower portion of the uterus which connects with the vagina – begin to suddenly change.
In most cases, cervical cancer starts to happen in the cells of the upper layer of the cervix and later spreads to other parts such as the vagina, rectum, bladder, liver, and lungs.
In the initial stages, there are hardly any symptoms as they appear mostly at later stages and thus the condition goes unnoticed early on.
Symptoms that should ring a bell
The most common symptoms are:
- Bleeding that is unusual – like after sex or between periods or after menopause
- Pain while passing urine
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Smelly discharge from the vagina
- Frequent urination
Risk factors for cervical cancer
In most women, cervical cancer is caused by two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV 16 and HPV 18 – which gets transmitted via sexual intercourse. There are other risk factors:
- Birth control pills
- Three full-term pregnancies
- Multiple sexual partners
- Weak immune system
- History of the condition in the family’s women
- Diet that does not have enough fruits and vegetables
How to prevent cervical cancer?
Taking an HPV shot reduces the chances of developing the condition.
Regular Pap tests can help detect the condition at early stages.
Practicing safe sex can significantly reduce the risk.
If you smoke, quitting will help in the condition’s prevention.