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What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of cervical cancer include blood-tinged vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, back discomfort and pelvic pain, explains Healthline. However, symptoms are not usually apparent until after the cancer has spread, so it is important for women to schedule regular pelvic exams and Pap smears to help detect cervical cell abnormalities.

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Full Answer

Additional symptoms of cervical cancer can include unusual vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, after sexual intercourse and following menopause, according to WebMD. In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, also referred to as HPV. However, there are multiple strains of HPV, many of which do not cause cancer. HPV strains linked to cervical cancer typically first present as abnormal cervical cell changes that can be detected with Pap smear tests. When the cell changes are detected early, the condition can often be treated, which in turn may help to prevent cervical cancer from developing.

Risk factors for developing cervical cancer include cigarette smoking, multiple births and multiple sex partners, according to the National Cancer Institute. Treatments for cervical cancer depend on the specific extent of the disease and include surgical procedures that remove the affected tissue, hysterectomy procedures, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Targeted therapy procedures that attack localized areas of cancer cells without harming surrounding tissues may also be utilized to treat certain stages of cervical cancer.

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