Cervical cancer usually has no symptoms. Symptoms of cervical cancer may include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as bleeding in between periods, bleeding during/after sex or after menopause).
- Abnormal or persistent vaginal discharge.
- Pelvic pain, or pain during sexual intercourse.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor or health care provider.
Most cervical cancers are caused by a common virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Most people will get HPV at some point in their lives – often without knowing it.
HPV is a virus that usually clears up on its own without causing any problems.
Two groups of HPV can infect the cervix – low risk and high risk. Low risk types are not associated with cervical cancer but may cause genital warts and abnormal screening results. Long term infection with a high risk type of HPV may lead to cervical cancer or pre-cancerous cells.
HPV is very common and easily spread through any kind of sexual contact. This includes intimate touching, oral, vaginal and anal sex. There are more than 100 types of HPV - some types are high risk for cervical cancer, while others are high risk for genital warts.
Usually the body’s immune system removes the virus within two years. But sometimes HPV does not clear on its own, and over time, it can cause the cells of the cervix to become abnormal. These abnormal cells can develop into cervical cancer if they are not found and treated early enough.
To learn more about the HPV vaccines, visit ImmunizeBC.