According to the American Cancer Society, there are an estimated 12,340 new cases of cervical cancer in America each year. Sadly, approximately 4,000 women die of this silent killer each year.
Women of all ages are at risk for cervical cancer once they begin having sexual intercourse. And the human papillomavirus (or HPV) is the most common reason why malignant cancer cells start to develop in the tissues of the cervix (the pear-shaped organ below the uterus).
As the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide, cervical cancer kills slowly, also making it one of the most treatable and preventable cancers. This is why regular pap smears and vaginal exams, should you encounter any of these symptoms, can save your life…
1. No Symptoms
One of the scariest things about this silent killer of women is just that—it’s a serious disease that often presents with no symptoms at all in its early stages. If you’re at heightened risk of cervical cancer, it’s a good idea to have regular checkups with your doctor and undergo screenings for the preliminary signs of the disease. Risk factors include HPV infection and sexual activity with multiple partners, or with a partner who has other sexual partners. HPV is listed as the most common cause of cervical cancer. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke also increase your risk, as does having an impaired immune system as the result of other medical conditions.
As the cancer advances, you will likely experience noticeable early warning signs. These include pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, and urinary abnormalities. It’s recommended that you have these symptoms checked out by a doctor immediately if they develop.