Cervical cancer is among the top gynecologic cancers worldwide. Research published in 2022 states that it is the fourteenth among all cancers and fourth highest in terms of prevalence of cancers among women worldwide. In this article, we will discuss whether cancer symptoms come on suddenly and if it can be diagnosed in its early stage.
Do the symptoms of cervical cancer appear all of a sudden?
Not exactly. The symptoms of cervical cancer are not likely to come on suddenly but usually persist once they do appear. In most cases, it does not show any symptoms. However, some women may suffer from abnormal vaginal bleeding in later stages. The condition can also lead to an unusual discharge from the vagina, pain during sex, pain in the pelvic region or lower back, swelling of the legs, irregular urination or bowel movement, and blood in the urine. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), cervical cancer takes several years to develop. Dysplasia or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia refers to the early cell changes. In most cases, there are no symptoms present in early-stage cervical cancer. However, the above-mentioned symptoms appear when cancer has grown into nearby tissue.
Can cervical cancer be diagnosed in its early stages?
Rarely. The early stages of cervical cancer are usually not present with any symptoms. The symptoms are hard to detect in the early stage of cervical cancer. The first signs of cervical cancer may take several years to develop.
Cancer.org website informs that it usually takes several years to develop cervical cancer, but it also can happen in less than a year. Cervical cancer grows slowly. Also, its malignancy increases with time. It takes several years for the toxic cells to cause cervical cancer. It takes a long time for human papillomavirus (HPV) to cause cervical cancer.
The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screening tests. The presence of any abnormal cells during cervical cancer screenings can help with early diagnosis, followed by early medical intervention. The tests for cervical cancer screening are the HPV test and the Pap test. Both HPV and Pap tests can also be done at the same time (called a co-test).
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