‘Constant’ pain in the pelvis or back could indicate cervical cancer
Cervical cancer: Expert discusses 'main symptoms' of condition
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Cervical cancer is cancer found anywhere in the cervix – the opening between the vagina and womb. It accounts for more than 3,000 new diagnoses every year in the UK, with those aged between 30 and 34 most at risk. As with any cancer, spotting the symptoms as soon as possible could be life saving.
Valentina Milanova, founder of Daye – a women’s health research and development company – spoke with Express.co.uk to explain more.
“Often early-stage cervical cancer produces no signs or symptoms, which is why it’s incredibly important to attend your regular cervical screening checks (a smear test) and to stay in tune with your vaginal health,” she said.
“Most women with the disease have no symptoms until the cancer has reached an advanced stage.
“If you or someone you know are experiencing any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor or your local sexual health clinic to investigate further.”
She listed “unexplained” and “constant” pelvic and back pain as one sign of the disease.
Ms Milanova said: “There are several reasons someone might be experiencing pelvic or back pain that are unrelated to cervical cancer.
“However, if you experience constant lower back pain or pain between your hip bones, it could be an indicator of changes in your cervix, so it’s important to consult with a doctor.”
She shared other symptoms of cervical cancer.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
“Unusual vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between regular periods, during or after sexual intercourse or post-menopausal bleeding, can be a symptom of cervical cancer,” she said.
“However, it’s important to note that several other health-related issues, including sexually transmitted infections, can cause irregular vaginal bleeding.”
She commented: “In most cases, vaginal discharge is completely normal. In fact, it’s healthy as it helps keep the vagina clean and moist and protects it from infection.
“Generally speaking, vaginal discharge is healthy if it’s clear, milky white or off-white.
“However, if you notice significant changes in the consistency, smell or colour of your vaginal discharge, you should speak to a doctor.
“Foul-smelling discharge that is pink, reddish or brown, or discharge that is pale, watery brown, or mixed with blood, may be a sign of cervical cancer.
“If you notice persistent changes in your vaginal discharge, you should book an appointment with your GP.”
Pain during sexual intercourse
“When cervical cancer is in its advanced stages, women and assigned female at birth (AFAB) individuals may experience pain during sexual intercourse, which may be due to a tumour growing in and around reproductive organs,” Ms Milanova said.
“Again, it’s important to note that people may experience painful sex for many other reasons unrelated to cervical cancer.”
Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
She added: “Like many other cancers, symptoms of advanced cervical cancer can include unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite.
“Cervical tumours produce small proteins called cytokines, which can suppress a person’s appetite.
“If you haven’t made any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine and your weight is plummeting drastically, it could be a red flag.”
If you notice any of these symptoms you should see a GP.
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