Maybe you’ve been recently diagnosed with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or maybe you’ve been experiencing changes and are worried that it could be an indication of something serious. Either way, you want to know if you are experiencing cervical cancer symptoms and whether you are at risk for developing the disease.
Cervical cancer has declined over the years. It used to outrank breast cancer as the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in women, but thanks to pre-cancer screenings, such as Pap tests, cervical cancer is hardly a death sentence anymore. Still, it is important to know the symptoms of cervical cancer and the risk factors that can attribute to its development.
Most often, cervical cancer symptoms do not appear unless it is an advanced stage. Most cervical cancer cases can be caught early, before symptoms appear, from your regular Pap test. In fact, when found early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
If you cannot afford a Pap test or annual exam, you might qualify for The HealthyWoman Program, which provides free Pap tests, cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic testing to women in Pennsylvania.
Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer
A Family History of Cervical Cancer
If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, you might be at a greater risk of developing it yourself.
While most cases of HPV disappear over time, certain strains of HVP have been linked to cervical cancer. HPV can be diagnosed through your regular Pap test. If your test results indicate that you have HPV and your health care professional believes you are at risk for cervical cancer, you will need to have further testing.
Studies indicate that women who have had more than three full-term pregnancies might be at greater risk for developing cervical cancer. Women who have had their first full-term pregnancy before the age of 17 might also be at greater risk.
Advanced Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Bleeding between periods or after menopause might be an indication of cervical cancer, or another condition.
An unusual vaginal discharge or leakage of urine or feces from the vagina could be a symptom of cervical cancer.
Weight Loss and Fatigue
Advanced cervical cancer can cause rapid or extreme weight loss. It can also cause fatigue.
You might experience pain during sex if you have advanced cervical cancer. You might also feel back pain or leg pain.
Ready to Make an Appointment?
If you have not had your regular Pap test in the past three years because you do not have health insurance or cannot afford your current insurance’s high co-pays and high deductibles, you might qualify for The HealthyWoman Program. The HealthyWoman program provides financial support, no-cost cancer screenings and diagnostic testing to women in Pennsylvania. See if you qualify!