January 18, 2012

Be Aware Of Common Cervical Cancer Symptoms

Abnormal bleeding can be an early warning sign of cervical cancer and should not be ignored, said a gynecologic oncologist from Baylor College of Medicine.

"January marks National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and is a great time for women of all ages to be aware of common symptoms and early warning signs of the disease," said Dr. M. Yvette Williams-Brown, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at BCM. "All women should know what constitutes abnormal bleeding."

When caught in the early stages, cervical cancer is curable, so being aware of these warning signs and seeking medical attention for them is important, she said.

What is abnormal bleeding?

In premenopausal women, abnormal bleeding includes:

    In between periods or outside of normal menstrual cycle
    After sexual intercourse
    Two to three times a month

In postmenopausal women, abnormal bleeding includes:

    Any bleeding that occurs a year after their last period
    After sexual intercourse

Other warning signs

In addition to abnormal bleeding, other warning signs may include:

    Pain during or after intercourse
    One-sided swelling of the leg
    Shooting pain down the leg

"It is important not to panic if you think you are experiencing any of these symptoms," said Williams-Brown. "Contact your gynecologist and he or she can evaluate the problem."

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women.


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