Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop and spread in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus. More than 13,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. A unique fact about cervical cancer is that most cases are triggered by a type of virus(Human Papilloma Virus). When found early, cervical cancer is highly curable.
SYMPTOMS OF CERVICAL CANCER
When cervical cells first become abnormal, there are rarely any warning signs. As the cancer progresses, symptoms may include:
• Unusual vaginal discharge
• Vaginal bleeding between periods
• Bleeding after menopause
• Bleeding or pain during sex
WHAT ELSE RAISES YOUR RISK?
Hispanic and African-American women have higher rates of cervical cancer than caucasian women. The risk is also higher in infected women who:
• Have many children
• Use birth control pills for a long time
• Are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system
• Have multiple sexual partners
STAGES OF CERVICAL CANCER
Cervical cancer is divided into four stages. In stage I, the cancer is beyond the lining of the cervix, but it’s still only in your uterus. Stage II means it’s spread beyond your cervix and uterus. At this stage, it can also spread to nearby tissues. A stage III tumor reaches the lower part of your vagina and may make it hard to pee. Stage IV, the most advanced, means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, like nearby organs.
American Cancer Society.
National Cancer Institute.