Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer for women worldwide, so it makes sense that it’s such a scary and difficult topic to discuss. This devastating disease can completely alter the reproductive system by causing damage and even require a hysterectomy. And like most cancers, there is always a chance of it spreading to other parts of the body.
In most cases, cervical cancer begins with precancerous cells that line the uterus. Typically, these cells disappear before they turn, and take many years to eventually form cancer.
Cervical cancer is categorized based on the types of cells affected as well as where it occurs in the cervix (either the ectocervix, the endocervix, and the transformation zone). This type of cancer is also commonly formed by human papillomavirus or HPV, which is an STI that could cause multiple symptoms depending on the strain.
The results from your yearly Pap smear will confirm or deny if your cells have turned cancerous, but there are plenty of signs that you can keep an eye out for before your annual check-up. Here are a few symptoms you should be on the watch for that may be early signs of cervical cancer: