Cervical cancer: Expert discusses 'main symptoms' of condition
Cervical cancer is often dubbed the “silent killer” cancer as it can develop slowly without many noticeable symptoms.
Even if someone does experience symptoms they can then be mistaken for side effects of the menstrual cycle, with vaginal bleeding and tummy pain among the most common signs.
However, it can present in some more unusual ways depending on how advanced it is.
With this in mind Doctor Ashfaq Khan, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Harley Street Gynaecology, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about signs to look out for.
He said: “Cervical cancer often develops slowly over time and may not cause any noticeable symptoms in its early stages.
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“However, as the cancer progresses, several symptoms may arise.
“It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by various other conditions, and their presence does not necessarily indicate cervical cancer.
“It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.”
He warned that swollen legs could be a sign of cervical cancer.
Dr Khan said: “Swelling or pain in the legs, often caused by the spread of the cancer to nearby lymph nodes.”
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Cancer Research UK adds: “The most common places for cervical cancer to spread is to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and bones.
“Lymph nodes are part of a system of tubes and glands in the body that filters body fluids and fights infection.
“The most common symptom that happens when cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, is that they feel hard or swollen. Cervical cancer can spread to lymph nodes in the area between the hip bones (pelvis).
“Cancer cells can also stop lymph fluid from draining away. This might lead to swelling in your legs due to fluid build up. The swelling is called lymphoedema.”
Dr Khan shared other symptoms to be wary of.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
This can include bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause.
Unusual vaginal discharge
Increased vaginal discharge that may be watery, thick, foul-smelling, or mixed with blood.
Persistent or intermittent pain in the pelvic region, which may radiate to the lower back or legs.
Pain during sexual intercourse
Discomfort or pain experienced during or after intercourse.
Blood in the urine, frequent urination, or pain or discomfort while urinating.
Unexplained weight loss
Significant and unexplained weight loss without changes in diet or physical activity.
Persistent tiredness, weakness, or lack of energy.
If you experience any symptoms of cervical cancer you should speak to your GP.
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