10 signs of cervical cancer every woman needs to know

Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common cancers that affected women in the United States. And it wasn't until the 1950's when widespread use of the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear -- a simple swab test that allows doctors to examine cells from the cervix -- that cervical cancer started to decline. Cervical cancer is a prime example that proper detection and screening can save lives.
For this reason, The American Cancer Society says it is important to note that cervical cancer can be impossible to detect early on -- with women experiencing no symptoms until it becomes invasive and spreads to other tissue. If you see the following 10 symptoms, make sure to notify a doctor:
1. Bleeding after intercourse
It isn't normal to bleed after sex, so if you experience this, especially on multiple occasions, talk to your doctor right away. It could be a sign of cervical cancer or some sort of infection.
2. Bleeding after menopause
If you have already gone through menopause, bleeding like you have your period is not normal. If you experience this, talk to your doctor right away about your symptoms.
3. Bleeding between periods
Spotting can be a sign of an array of health issues, some easily fixable but some much more serious. Either way, if you experience this you need to bring it up with your doctor.
4. Bleeding after douching
This is not normal. Talk to your doctor right away if you experience bleeding after douching as it could be a sign that cervical cancer has spread to other tissues.
5. Bleeding following a pelvic exam
A pelvic exam might be a bit uncomfortable, but it shouldn't cause you to bleed. If you experience this, ask your doctor to look into it further.
6. Having heavier menstrual periods than usual
Like many of the symptoms, this can be a tricky one. Sometimes women even experience heavier periods with the change of seasons, for example. But, if you notice that your periods are heavier than normal, it is something you should bring up with your doctor. They can help you pinpoint the cause.
7. Having periods that last longer than usual
Have you noticed your menstrual periods are lasting longer than usual? Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, as it could be a sign of cervical cancer.
8. Unusual vaginal discharge
You know what is normal for you and your body, so if you notice that your vaginal discharge is a different color, in excess or has some blood in it, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
9. Pain during sex
Pain during sex could be an indication that cervical cancer has spread to other tissues. If you experience this, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and see if they can pinpoint the problem.
10. Pelvic pain
If you experience pelvic pain, this could also be a sign that cervical cancer has spread to other areas outside the cervix. Talk to your doctor about the pain you are experiencing.
This is important stuff. Be sure to share the importance of early detection as well as the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer with your friends.
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