Being the silent killer it is, early cancers are notorious for creeping up silently, but often there are some signs that you need to be on the lookout for. Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in women, along with breast cancer, thyroid cancer and colorectal cancer. Cervical cancer occurs inside a woman’s cervix, a part that connects the uterus to the vagina.

Here are 5 signs that you shouldn’t ignore as minor problems.

1.      Vaginal bleeding- Bleeding after intercourse, prolonged and heavier periods than usual, and bleeding after menopause are a sign you should not ignore. Cervical cancer can often mask itself as menstrual bleeding.

2.     A dull or sharp pain in the pelvic region or lower back. The person might feel a certain pressure in the area.

3.     If the cancer is advanced, it could also result in leg pain and issues in urinary and bowel movements. Painful urination is also a common sign of cervical cancer.

Also Read | Time to find ways to prevent cancers: Gadkari

4.     Weight loss- Unexplained weight loss is a common sign in cancer patients. Various cancers like pancreatic cancer also cause unexplained weight loss.

5.     Vaginal discharge- Although discharge is a normal fluid that maintains vaginal health, abnormal discharge that is heavier and slightly tinted red is a cause of concern.

Also Read | Attention ladies! Here are signs that you need a gynaecologist, immediately

While some of these signs can also occur due to problems like endometriosis and fibroids, it is essential to be regularly screened and tested to rule out any chances of cervical cancer. A pap smear is a common test done by doctors for diagnosis. It also detects any precancerous cells in the cervix. Doctors advise women to get a pap smear done every three years.

The sooner it is diagnosed, the easier it is to have a chance of successful treatment.