The most frequently known cancer involving the female reproductive system is cervical cancer that develops when there is an abnormal growth in the cervix. An early detection is advisable and you can get a check up by requesting for an affordable test called a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear.
It is recommended to get a regular check of your cervix, especially if you are sexually active, every three years till the age of thirty, then every alternative five years after.
The most common cause of cervical cancer is infection with human papillomavirus, even though not every woman that has the human papillomavirus infection will develop cervical cancer. The infection can be contracted during sexual contact.
There are other risk factors involved which are:
- A male sexual partner that has a history of many sexual partners
- Partner who has previous cervical cancer
- Previous sexually transmitted infection
- A previous sexually transmitted infection
- First sexual activity at a young age (younger than 20 years old)
- Multiple sexual partners
- Contraceptive pill usage
In the early stages of cervical cancer, it is difficult to detect for symptoms. Consult your doctor if you have any signs of symptoms that include:
- One leg that is swollen
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina (post sexual intercourse or in between menstruation cycles)
- Severe constipation and feeling the presence of a stool after emptying your bowels
- Leaking of urine or faeces from the vagina
- Low back pain or pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse and vaginal discharge
- Painful or difficult urination and cloudy urine
These treatment options depends on the condition and stage of the cancer:
- The early stages of cervical cancer is treated by removing the uterus through a hysterectomy or radiation therapy that using high-energy rays, often accompanied with chemotherapy.
- Late (advanced) cervical cancer is treated by radiation therapy, often with concurrent chemotherapy.
- Pre-cancer of the cervix is treated by removing the abnormal cells from the lining of the cervix, this aids in ensuring the cervical cancer does not develop again.