Spotting the Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer

Pain of any type can cause anxiety. Lack of information and fear of the unknown make matters worse. While most precancers don’t come with clear warning signs, cervical cancer has a few symptoms that may easily be mistaken for other conditions. That’s why regular check-ups and Pap smears are critical in the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. 

At The Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia, Dr. Melissa Delgado and our team, including nurse practitioners Wendy Roberts and Amanda McClay, are dedicated to helping women get healthy and stay healthy. If you have pelvic pain and don’t know why, we can help you get to the bottom of it and begin proper treatments to ease your symptoms. We urge you to come see us for a complete examination that can put your mind at ease.

Warning signs of cervical cancer

In its earliest stages, cervical cancer, like most cancers, doesn’t send up an obvious flare letting you know it has arrived. Instead, it sends you subtle messages that you might miss if you’re not paying attention. 

Unexplained vaginal bleeding

Between irregular periods, hormone fluctuations, and the stages of menopause, it may be difficult to self-diagnose “abnormal” vaginal bleeding. However, if you know your body’s normal cycle and behavior and notice something out of the ordinary, such as bleeding after intercourse, in between periods, or after menopause, you should come see us right away so we can find out why it’s happening.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding doesn’t only mean bleeding when you’re not supposed to; it can also mean unusually heavy bleeding during your normal periods or periods that extend beyond the normal timespan for your menstrual cycle. 

Vaginal discharge

Although vaginal discharge is a normal part of being a woman, not all discharge is normal. It’s usually clear or milky in color, and it’s the body’s way of flushing out bacteria and dead cells. 

However, if you notice a change in color or detect an odd odor, it could be caused by an infection or other disorder. A number of things can be responsible for these changes, including:

Not all changes in discharge are signs of cancer, but it’s best to get checked just in case.

Pelvic pain

Once cervical cancer begins to take hold, it may cause some pain. Of course, pelvic pain can be attributed to other conditions as well, such as interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and endometriosis, to name a few, so don’t jump to conclusions. 

Whatever is causing your pelvic pain, it’s important to understand the source so we can diagnose and treat it accurately. If it’s cervical cancer, then we can get you started on a treatment plan immediately. If it’s not, we can direct you where you need to go.

Urination problems

Urine is a great indicator of what’s going on in your body. Generally, it needs to be examined in a lab for doctors to use it as an effective measure, but when you see blood in your urine, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong — it’s also one of the symptoms of cervical cancer.

Painful urination or difficulty emptying your bladder may also be present. Never ignore these symptoms, as they may be signs of cancer or other pelvic problems.

Achy back and legs

Cervical cancer is notorious for causing low-grade backaches and swelling of the legs. As with some of the other common signs associated with cervical cancer, these can easily be attributed to something else and quickly dismissed. 

However, if you experience a dull backache in conjunction with some of the other symptoms we’ve discussed, it’s worth looking into.

Regular check-ups can save your life

If you’re concerned about cervical cancer, or if you just want to get to the bottom of your unexplained pelvic pain, regular check-ups are key. By getting to know what’s normal for you and your body, we can establish a baseline and be better able to detect when something is out of the ordinary. 

Whether you need an annual Pap smear or you’re in pain now and need help, you can trust us to listen carefully, pay attention to details, use advanced technology and our extensive experience, and approach your treatment with a multidisciplinary perspective that opens up a plethora of pain-relieving possibilities. Call us at 571-261-8069 or request an appointment online today. 

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