Cervical Cancer is Difficult to Detect in the Early Stages
Cervical cancer is one of the top 10 most occurring cancer types among women in Singapore. It is often difficult to detect the disease in its early stages. Cervical pre-cancerous lesions are generally silent and unnoticeable. The cells in the cervix undergo many modifications before they become cancerous. First, the once-normal cells begin to show signs of irregularity or abnormality. Then, these aberrant cells may either disappear, remain unchanged, or become cancerous. Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer becomes more noticeable as the disease advances.
The Signs and Symptoms To Watch Out For
Cervical cancer may not cause much discomfort in the early stages of the disease. But patients may suffer pelvic pain or difficulty urinating as cancer spreads to adjacent tissues and organs in advanced stages.
The signs and symptoms becomes more apparent as the cancer becomes more advanced. They include the following possibilities:
- Blood splotches or intermittent mild bleeding
- An unusually long and heavy menstrual period
- Bleeding after sex, douching, or a pelvic exam
- Excessive discharge from the cervix
- Anxiety and discomfort during a sexual encounter
- Menopause-related uterine hemorrhaging
- Chronic, unexplained spinal or genital pain
Consult your physician if you experience any of these signs, even if they seem to be indicative of something less serious. In the event of unusual bleeding, discharge, or other symptoms, you should see a gynaecologist and have a Pap test performed. The early discovery can help doctors plan a proper treatment strategy to prevent the progression.
HPV vaccination and regular screening (Pap test and HPV test) are the best defence against cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can be highly treatable if discovered early. The relative 5-year survival rate for cervical cancer in Singapore for women diagnosed between 2015 and 2019 is about 64%.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.