One of the reasons why the first sign of cervical cancer sometimes goes undetected in early stages is that its symptoms can be easily confused with common menstrual problems.
What are the common menstrual signs that could actually be signs of cervical cancer?
This disease often arises in women who haven’t reached menopause. Therefore, signs such as bleeding after sex, vaginal discharge and even unexpected bleeding will often be disregarded as merely normal menstrual symptoms. Other signs such as swelling in the legs and back pain could also result from the development of cervical cancer.
Which signs of cervical cancer are especially sneaky and should be closely watched for?
If you often experience bleeding after sexual intercourse (postcoital bleeding), that is a warning sign to watch out for. Since cancerous growths in the cervix will bleed easily when pressured, this type of sign can easily arise during or after intercourse.
Sometimes, (especially in advanced cases), cervical cancer will correlate with an unusual foul scent that some women can detect in their vaginal discharge. Therefore, foul smelling discharges are another subtle sign to watch out for, whose presence warrants further evaluation by a physician.
Swelling of the legs can be indicative of a wide range of health issues; but when it manifests alongside with pelvic pain, foul smelling discharge and/or vaginal bleeding, these signs together are highly suggestive of advanced cervical cancer, and should be evaluated by a specialist as soon as possible.
--Teresa P. Diaz-Montes, M.D., MPH, FACOG - Board Certified in Gynecologic Oncology, Dr. Teresa Diaz-Montes provides diagnosis and treatment for gynecologic cancers including ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer.