Obstetrics & Gynecology in Augusta, GA
cervical cancer discharge

Early Detection Tips: How to Identify Potential Signs of Cervical Cancer

It’s estimated that each year there are over 11,500 new cases of cervical cancer discovered in women. Like most forms of cancer, early detection is key to beating it.

Unfortunately, many women don’t know about the potential signs of this form of cancer. That means that symptoms like cervical cancer discharge might go unnoticed. However, just because you have vaginal discharge doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer.

So what are some of the early symptoms associated with cervical cancer? And if you’re diagnosed, what are your treatment options? In this guide, we’ll be answering these questions so you can take control of your health today.

What Causes Cervical Cancer?

Your cervix is lined with healthy cells. Cervical cancer occurs when the DNA within these cells starts to change. See, DNA controls how your cells function. So when cervical cancer begins these cells turn against you and begin to multiply uncontrollably.

This leads to the rapid growth of cells that can eventually create masses known as tumors. In some cases, it can even branch out and spread to the surrounding tissues around your cervix.

So what causes the DNA of your cells to mutate in the first place? For the vast majority of cases, the answer is human papillomavirus (aka HPV). This virus is usually spread through sexual contact.

In some cases, the body can get rid of it naturally. However, if it’s unable to then it can cause your cells to mutate. Eventually, this will lead to cervical cancer.

Early Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

The most common thing that brings women to the doctor for potential cervical cancer is unusual vaginal discharge. The problem is that discharge is quite common for women, particularly during their periods.

That’s why you need to be on the lookout for signs that it might be an unusual cervical cancer discharge. Typical vaginal discharge is white with no clear odor.

So signs of atypical discharge might mean that it has a different color or smell to it. There might also be more of it, or there could be a change in discharge consistency.

It’s also important to note that atypical vaginal discharge can sometimes be a symptom of other medical conditions. Remain calm and do not immediately jump to a worst-case scenario.

Aside from cervical cancer discharge, some other symptoms can include things like:

  • Unusual amounts of bleeding (either after menopause, in between periods, or after sex)
  • Heavier, longer, or irregular periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficulty urinating or blood in your urine

Make sure to check out this guide to learn more about the signs of cervical cancer.

Different Stages of Cervical Cancer

You can break down cervical cancer into four stages. Stage One is the earliest possible stage. At this point, the cancer is small and confined strictly to your cervix.

That means that it hasn’t spread to any of the surrounding tissue. The good news is that at this stage the cancer can usually be detected in a pap smear during your gynecologist appointment.

That’s why it’s vital to schedule them regularly. Once it’s reached Stage Two the cancer will begin spreading into the tissue that’s beyond your cervix like your uterus. However, at this point, it hasn’t yet reached the lower section of your vagina or the pelvic wall.

It may also affect nearby lymph nodes. Once Stage Three comes around it’s reached the lower section of your vagina. What’s more, it may also be present in your pelvic wall, lymph nodes, and ureter tubes.

If the cancer reaches Stage Four, it’s in its most advanced phase. At this point, the cancer has branched out well beyond the pelvic area.

It’s likely reached your bladder, rectum, and even distant parts like your bones or lungs. If it’s reached Stage Four you need to use the most aggressive treatments possible to try and beat it.

What Are Your Treatment Options?

There are a variety of options for treating cervical cancer. The right treatment for you will ultimately depend on what stage the cancer is in.

However, you also need to consider factors like your age, overall health, and whether or not you want to have children in the future. One of the most common forms of treatment is surgery.

If caught in the early stages, small masses can typically be physically removed. In later stages, doctors might combine surgery with other forms of treatment.

Another method is radiation therapy. This type of treatment uses high-energy beams to closely target and kill the cancer cells. You’ve likely also heard of chemotherapy.

This aggressive treatment uses a cocktail of drugs to kill cancer cells found throughout your body. Your doctor might also recommend immunotherapy. This can boost your immune system which allows it to naturally recognize the cancer cells and attack them.

There are also new treatments for the cancer being discovered every day. So in some cases, you might be eligible for a new clinical trial.

If you want an overview of all the different options available, this resource can provide more information on the different cervical cancer treatments.

How to Prevent Cervical Cancer

As we mentioned, HPV is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer. So getting an HPV vaccination and practicing safe sex can be extremely helpful in reducing your chances of getting it.

You should also make sure you’re getting regular pap smears every three years or so. If you smoke cigarettes, consider quitting.

Some studies link tobacco use to a higher chance of cervical cancer. Lastly, make sure you’re eating a nutritious diet and practice good hygiene while avoiding dry or scented products.

Worried About Potential Cervical Cancer Discharge? Contact Women’s Health of Augusta

We hope this guide helped you learn more about cervical cancer discharge and other symptoms associated with the condition. You shouldn’t wait to notice potential symptoms on your own.

Instead, you should schedule regular appointments with establishments like the Women’s Health of Augusta. For over forty years, we’ve been using state-of-the-art technology to help women beat cervical cancer.

So if you’re ready for the compassionate care you deserve, schedule an appointment with us today.