The uterus is one of the most important organs of the female reproductive system, the function of which is to receive the fertilized egg and then to house the fetus which will develop there during the pregnancy. It is composed of three parts: the uterine fundus, the uterine body and the cervix. The latter refers to the lower part of the uterus and is made up of healthy cells, which in some cases can be transformed into tumors. So check out the risk factors and signs that may indicate cervical cancer.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer develops as a result of a mutation in healthy cells lining the walls of the cervix, which begin to have an accelerated growth rate and abnormal behavior. In some cases, this change remains benign, with the appearance of polyps, fibroids or non-cancerous cysts, or cause a precancerous condition which, if diagnosed and treated in time, prevents the transformation of these abnormal cells In cancerous tumors.
What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?
Although the causes of this type of cancer are not yet precisely determined, there are nevertheless risk factors that favor its appearance, the main ones being the following:
Age: Cervical cancer usually affects women aged 45 to 60, and the risk of developing cervical cancer increases with age
Family history: If women in your immediate family have already suffered from cancer, you are at great risk of suffering as well
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection: which causes precancerous lesions in the cervix, which promotes the development of tumors. This risk is higher if the woman has a weakened immune system or begins sexual activity at an early age (before 18 years)
Contraceptive pills: Prolonged use of a hormonal contraceptive pill increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. A risk that gradually decreases after discontinuation of use;
Smoking: women who are smokers or in contact with second-hand smoke in cigarettes are more exposed to cervical cancer because nicotine and other products in the cervix are concentrated in cervical mucus. In addition, smoking increases the risk of persisting HPV infection, which can cause cervical cancer.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
To be able to detect this type of cancer, when it is in its infancy and thus increase your chances of curing it and not having any sequelae, it is recommended to listen to your body and ask The opinion of a gynecologist at the onset of any of the following signs:
Unusual vaginal discharge:
White or yellow discharge with a strong or unpleasant odor is usually a sign of an infection of the urinary tract. When they become abundant, persistent or bloody, it is recommended to consult a doctor because they may reveal the presence of tumors.
The presence of internal or external genital warts is one of the symptoms of a HPV infection, which is a major risk factor for cervical cancer.
Pains and bleeding:
Because of the development of tumors, the walls of the cervix can dry out and crack, resulting in bleeding and pain in the pelvis. Pain during or after intercourse is also a potential sign of cancer.
If you suffer from a too fast heartbeat, constant fatigue, you probably suffer from anemia. The latter can be caused by excessive bleeding accompanying cervical cancer.
Problems with urination:
A difficulty urinating, leaking urine or blood in the urine, are all alarming signs that can announce various health problems like urinary infections. But when these symptoms are persistent, it is important to consult a doctor because they can reveal a cancer of the cervix.
In the presence of tumors, the cervix becomes enlarged, compressing the bladder and kidneys and disrupting the flow of urine. This results in an inability to completely empty the bladder, painful urination or frequent cystitis.
Pain in the back, hips and legs:
Swelling of the cervix prevents blood flow from flowing normally, which gives a feeling of pain and promotes swelling of the legs and ankles.
Unexplained weight loss:
Weight loss when not desired, may be the sign of an underlying disease, such as cervical cancer. Indeed, 40% of people with cancer claimed to have lost weight in the months before diagnosis.