Cervical cancer develops in the lower part of the uterus connected to the vagina. Most diagnosis of cervical cancer can be traced to the human papilloma virus, known as HPV. The virus is a sexually transmitted disease that can survive for years in a woman’s reproductive system, and in some cases will play a role in the process that leads to cancer cell development.
What are the signs?
Recently developed cervical cancer cells don’t cause symptoms until the disease has begun to progress. Signs of the cancer developing can include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between your monthly cycle, or following menopause. Your vaginal discharge can also turn bloody, watery, or have a foul scent. Pain in your pelvis while you have intercourse can also be a sign of cancer developing.
Should I be worried?
While no one is sure what exactly causes cervical cancer, several risk factors have been identified through research: having many sexual partners, having sex at an early age, contracting other sexually transmitted diseases, smoking cigarettes, and a weakened immune system. If you’re receiving a pap test annually, you are already being screened for cervical cancer. Your gynecologist might also order an HPV DNA test, and conduct an exam to further check.
If you have concerns about cervical cancer or are due for an annual exam, please give us a call at 717-840-9885 or click on the button below to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.
Dr. Julie Drolet
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