Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sexual intercourse, between periods, or after menopause. Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain during intercourse, pelvic pain, and a watery, bloody discharge from the vagina.
Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection. The HPV virus can infect the cervix and cause changes in the cells that can lead to cancer over time. Risk factors for cervical cancer include having multiple sexual partners, having a history of HPV infection, smoking, and having a weakened immune system.
It’s also worth mentioning that cervical cancer can also be preventable, regular screening for cervical cancer using Papanicolaou test (Pap smear) can detect precancerous changes in the cervix, allowing for early treatment and preventing the progression to cancer. Vaccines are also available that can protect against the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
If cervical cancer is caught in its early stages, it is highly treatable. Treatment options for cervical cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. The choice of treatment will depend on the stage and grade of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health.
It’s important to see a healthcare provider if you have any symptoms of cervical cancer or if you’re due for a cervical cancer screening. If you’re at an increased risk of cervical cancer, you may need to be screened more often.