Al-Marsad Newspaper: A nurse who specializes in cancer has revealed the known and lesser-known symptoms that you should watch out for for cervical cancer.
Lisa Jack, MD, a cancer nurse specialist at PercyHealth Cancer Center Online, said unusual vaginal bleeding is a key sign to watch out for.
And she explained that if the female has regular menstrual periods, the bleeding between periods may be one example of unusual bleeding, according to the “Daily Mail” website.
Changes in your vaginal secretions
A change in color, thickness, and odor can indicate disease. The British National Health Service says that healthy vaginal secretions are clear or white, thick and sticky, slippery and moist and do not have a strong or unpleasant odor.
Jacques said cervical cancer can turn the discharge foul-smelling and pink, brown or bloody.
A change in color could be a sign of blood in the discharge, while an odor and pieces of tissue inside could be the result of an infection.
Pain or discomfort during sex
Another common symptom of cervical cancer, Jack said, is pain or discomfort during sex. And if the cervix is inflamed, which can happen during cancer, the pressure of intercourse can be painful.
Low back or pelvic pain
Low back pain and pain between the hip bones (pelvis) are common during menstruation. But it can also be a sign of cervical cancer “when there’s no obvious reason for it,” says Jack.
The pain is often caused by the tumor pressing on bones, nerves, or organs.
A lesser-known symptom of cervical cancer is urinary problems, such as a frequent need to urinate.
Constipation or other bowel problems
Cancer Research UK says bowel problems can also be a warning sign of cervical cancer.
She added: “Sometimes the cancer can grow so that it completely blocks the intestine. The waste from the food you’ve digested can’t get past the blockage.
The charity says this blockage can cause symptoms such as bloating, fullness, vomiting, nausea, constipation and pain.
Pain and swelling in the leg
Leg pain and swelling are less well-known symptoms of the disease, said Jack.
Cancer Research UK says cervical cancer can spread to the lymph nodes in the area between the hip bones.
You can also develop tumors in the pelvic area which then press on the pelvic wall, causing pain.
Unexplained weight loss
Jacques continued that unexplained weight loss is another sign to look out for.
When you have cancer, the immune system has to work harder and the body produces small proteins called cytokines – which can cause the body to burn calories faster than usual and break down fat and muscle.