For 40 years the main cancer death risk for women has been the cervical cancer. With the development of pap tests and the development of the indicators of the warning signs the numbers became even bigger. Thousands and thousands of women in the USA are diagnosed with this disease every year. This means that even the development of the technology doesn’t mean we’re safe. Knowing the risk factors and the warning signs is of great help.
Cervical Cancer Risk Factors
Women need to be aware of the factors that can lead to development of cervical cancer, so that they can have an insight in their risk of cancer.
- Human Papilloma Virus Infection (HPV)– it is a compilation of many viruses that are transmitted through skin contact. This virus is proved to be stimulator of cervical cancer. One can detect this virus through warts or pap smears revealing.
- Food intake – women that have problems with obesity or those whose diet lacks the basic nutrients from fruits and vegetables have higher risk of getting cervical cancer.
- Birth control pills – some cancers find excellent conditions for multiplying created by female hormones that are part of the oral contraceptives. The longer the woman uses them, the greater the risk is. After five years of constant use, the risk is increased for twice.
- Genetics – opinions related to this factor are divided. Some references say that women with history of this disease in their genetics have bigger risk for 2 or 3 times. According to other references, this type of cancer has not genetic component.
- HIV – this virus, the cause of AIDS, strongly lowers the immune system, thus giving way to the HPV virus, one of the major factors responsible for cervical cancer.
- Chlamydia infection – the risk of cervical cancer is higher for women who have history or current issues with Chlamydia infection.
- Smoking – the risk of cervical cancer is doubled for smokers. The DNA of the cervix cells is highly influenced, negatively of course, by the by-products of tobacco. The negatively influenced DNA of the cervix cells is a great ground for this type of cancer. Smoking also has negative effects on the immune system, again increasing the possibilities for HPV infections. We highly recommend that you quit smoking, right away!
- Multiple pregnancies – women who have undergone 3 or more full-term pregnancies have increased risk of cervical cancer. The reason for this is still unknown.
- First pregnancy at a young age – women who are pregnant before they turn 18 face twice as bigger risk for cervical cancer than those who have their first full-term pregnancy after 25.
Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer
There are very few symptoms that show the starting stages of cervical cancer. Most of the symptoms are only visible in the later stages when the cancer starts to invade the tissue in the surroundings.
The most frequent symptoms of cervical cancer are:
1. leg pain
The earliest symptoms of cervical cancer are bloating and pain in the leg. Bloating of the cervix causes uneasy blood flow, which results in bloated leg and feeling of pain and soreness.
2. Vaginal discharge
Small amounts of clear, colorless and odorless discharge are normal for every woman. But, the increased, smelly discharge that appears anomalous can be symptom of cervical cancer in its early stage.
3. Unusual Bleeding
It is the most frequent symptom. Badly timed vaginal bleeding might be cervical cancer symptom. If between the periods or after intercourse you experience continuous bleeding you should visit your doctor. This is a must especially for women who are postmenopausal and have no more menstruations.
4. Discomforting Urination
Discomfort during urination can be a sign of cervical cancer. It is usually scornful and pricking. These symptoms are usually manifested when the cancer has spread onto the nearby tissues, thus immediate intervention is required.
Changes in urine and the urination process can indicate cervical cancer. Frequent urination, loss of the ability to control your bladder and blood in the urine are alarms that you need to visit your doctor.
6. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Your menstrual cycles should be regular as much as possible. If there is something that disrupts this regularity, it can be connected to cervical cancer symptoms. You should visit your doctor if this irregularity continues, but be aware of the medications you are using.
7. Uncomfortable Sex
Painful intercourse is also known as dyspareunia. Dyspareunia is another unpleasant symptom of cervical cancer. It can be a result of a few things. Take notice if you experience this because it can also be an indicator for other conditions.
8. Pelvic Pain
This pain is common for all women. For example, there are the cramps and the pains during the menstrual cycle and this is normal. But, if the pain is more intense and more frequent it can be a sign that you need to see your doctor.
9. Back Pain
About 80 % of the Americans suffer from back pain and it can be caused by various factors. But, if besides back pain you also have some other from the previously mentioned symptoms, you need to be more alert.
10. Unexplained Loss of Weight and Fatigue
It can be a result of many different factors, but in a combination with some of the previously mentioned factors it can be alarming. Reduced number of healthy red blood cells and increased number of white blood cells that serve to fight the disease is also a cervical cancer symptom. Because of this, the resulting anemia causes fatigue and lack of energy, loss of appetite and eventually reduced weight.
Prevention of Cervical Cancer
Diagnosing of cervical cancer in its early stages is almost impossible, thus the treatment is really hard. So the most important thing for every woman is the prevention.
- Pap test screening – one of the most efficient ways for checking if you have cervical cancer are pap smears. It’s important to do these tests often, depending on the woman’s age. The WebMD says that women aged between 20 and 30 need to do the screening every 3 years, women aged between 30 and 65 every 3-5 years, and those over 65 even don’t need to do the screening if their 3 last results were good.
- HPV Vaccine – the HPV vaccines are recommended for men and women before their twenties. This vaccine is considered to be essential in disabling the virus that is known to be the cause of cervical cancer. When it comes to female children, they need to be vaccinated at the age of 9.
- No smoking – the risk of cervical cancer is higher for smokers and passive smokers. By quitting smoking, you not only reduce the risk of this particular disease, but you also get rid of many other risks you face as a smoker.
- Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases – your sexual partner can have HPV without experiencing its symptoms. You should know the history of your sexual partner in order to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Using protection is one of the best ways to reduce this risk.
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Source : www.healthylivinghouse.com