Cervical cancer is a type of cancer which emerges from the cervix. It occurs due to the abnormal growth of cells in the cervix (lower part of the uterus) of the female reproductive system. Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women, worldwide, and can be treated with successful results, if discovered at an initial stage.
This type of cancer can be caused by multiple factors, some of which are:
- Human papillomavirus - One of the major causes of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV. During sexual intercourse, a minimum of 40 types of HPV are passed, out of which 15 of them are high risks for cervical cancer, including types 16 and 18. 7 out of 10 women, who suffer from cervical cancer, are infected by types 16 and 18. However, most women, who are sexually active, will come under the influence of at least one type of HPV in their lifetime, without any kind of harm caused to them.
- Smoking - Smoking increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. It helps in the development of HPV, which is a major cause of this type of cancer. If a woman is already HPV-positive, smoking increases the probability of being diagnosed with cervical cancer by leaps and bounds.
- Oral contraceptives - Research shows that taking contraceptive pills increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. Women who've been on contraceptive pills for over 5 years are twice as more prone to being diagnosed with cervical cancer than those who are not on the pill. But as soon as you stop the intake of pills, the increased risk of cancer drops immediately.
- Multiple pregnancies - Having multiple pregnancies is linked with increased risk of cervical cancer. Having seven or more pregnancies increases the risk of this type of cancer in those women who are already influenced by HPV by four times. And those who have had one or two full-term pregnancies, also under the influence of HPV have two to three times the risk of being diagnosed with this illness.
Knowing about the symptoms of cervical cancer can help in the early diagnosis of this disease. However, in the early stages of the disease, there are no such noticeable symptoms. Although these signs can help you understand if you've got cervical cancer:
1. Abnormal vaginal bleeding, i.e. bleeding after sexual intercourse or after menopause
2. Longer period cycles
3. Bleeding after douching
Symptoms in the advanced stages of the illness are:
1. Loss of weight
2. Back pain
3. Leg pain
5. Swelling of legs
7. Pelvic pain
8. Leakage of urine/feces from vagina
If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.