Understanding The Early Signs of Cervical Cancer: Stay Alert, Stay Healthy

"Breast self examination, regular screenings & checks for other cancers like cervical-- these are crucial first steps not only for cancer prevention but your own confidence & power," says Dr Sudeshna Ray, Medical Director at Gytree.

STP Reporter
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cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It's crucial to understand the early signs of this disease as early detection can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment and survival.


Many women with cervical cancer do not realise they have the disease early on, because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms until the late stages. When symptoms do appear, one of the most common is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This could mean bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause. It's important to note that while these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, they should never be ignored.

Medical director at women's health platform, Gytree, Dr Sudeshna Ray explains the importance of prevention. "Be your own champion for your health. Breast self examination, regular screenings & checks for other cancers like cervical-- these are crucial first steps not only for cancer prevention but your own confidence & power. Early detection is often half the battle won," adds Dr Sudeshna Ray, Medical Director at Gytree.

What are the signs?

Another early sign of cervical cancer is unusual vaginal discharge. While it's normal for women to have a small amount of clear, odorless discharge, changes in the color, consistency, or volume could be a sign of cervical cancer. This discharge may contain blood and may occur between periods or after menopause.

Pain during intercourse is another symptom that could indicate the presence of cervical cancer. While it can be caused by other conditions, such as infections or physical problems, persistent pain during sex should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Advanced cervical cancer can cause more severe symptoms such as pelvic pain, problems with urination, and swollen legs. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately.


It's important to remember that these symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than cervical cancer. However, if you experience any of these signs, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. Regular screenings and follow-ups can help detect cervical cancer at an early stage and improve the chances of successful treatment. Click here to book an appointment with a gynaecologist.

Cervical cancer in India

Cervical cancer is a significant public health concern in India, accounting for a large proportion of cancer cases among women. It is primarily caused by persistent infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.

Despite the availability of screening methods and HPV vaccines, the incidence of cervical cancer remains high due to factors such as lack of awareness, social stigma, and limited access to healthcare facilities. The rural population, in particular, is more vulnerable due to these challengesCervical cancer is a significant global health issue. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it's the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018, representing 6.6% of all female cancers.

In India, cervical cancer accounts for nearly 12% of all cancer cases among women in India. The high prevalence is attributed to a lack of awareness, inadequate screening programs, and limited access to healthcare services in many parts of the country. The disease is most common in women aged between 35 and 64.

Prevention strategies also include HPV vaccination, which is recommended for girls aged 9-14 years. However, the uptake of the HPV vaccine in India is still not widespread, largely due to lack of awareness, cost, and misconceptions about the vaccine.


How do you stay alert?

It's important to stay vigilant and listen to expert advise on cancers. At women's health platform, Gytree, doctors and nutritionist offer judgement-free support to improve your knowledge and understanding of cervical cancer.

Dr Sudeshna Ray explains that women should opt for a regular membership such as this at Gytree to ensure year long care, conversations and a deep connect with health. Nutritionist Amisha Gulati adds that nutrition and foods can make for strong defences against cancers of all kinds. 

"Every meal is a chance to fortify your body's defense. Fuel your body with antioxidants, vitamins, and plant based proteins. Let your diet be your armor against cancer."

Other than having direct care of different doctors, there are some tests that are recommended. For women over the age of 30, it's often recommended to have both a Pap test and an HPV test every five years. This is known as co-testing and it provides the most effective screening strategy for this age group. 

Women aged 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every three years. HPV testing isn't generally recommended for this age group, unless a Pap test shows abnormalities.

Screening recommendations may vary depending on a woman's age, health history, and risk factors. For instance, women with a high risk of cervical cancer may need to be screened more frequently. It's important to discuss these factors with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening schedule. For all these, Dr Ray recommends having a practioner who is available to support the needs of women by giving them expertise and guidance.

cervical cancer Early Signs of Cervical Cancer