January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

january is cervical cancer awareness month 2Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month? Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, with approximately 13,960 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2023, with over 4,000 deaths. While cervical cancer is often treatable, especially if diagnosed early, it can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. One potential complication of cervical cancer is lymphedema, a condition that can cause swelling, pain, and discomfort. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of cervical cancer and lymphedema can help women better manage the effects of this condition.  

What is Cervical Cancer?  

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of this disease. HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact. It is estimated that nearly all sexually active people will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lives, although most people will not develop cervical cancer. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, a weakened immune system, and a family history of cervical cancer.  january is cervical cancer awareness month 1

Cervical cancer may have few, if any, symptoms in the early stages. However, specific symptoms may emerge as time goes by. These include:

  • Vaignal bleeding right after sex or in between period cycles.
  • Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a coul order
  • pelvic pain
  • Abrupt weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention. 

What is Lymphedema?  

Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling, usually in the arms or legs, due to a build-up of lymphatic fluid. It is a common side effect of cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Damage to the lymphatic system can also cause lymphedema, either at birth or due to injury to the lymphatic system later in life. 

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that carries lymph, a clear fluid that contains immune cells, throughout the body. When the lymphatic system is damaged, the lymph can’t move properly, resulting in fluid build-up. The fluid build-up can lead to swelling, pain, discomfort, and infections. 

understanding lymphedemaCauses, Symptoms, and Treatments 

There are a couple of ways that Cervical cancer and lymphedema are linked. First, cervical cancer can cause lymphedema when cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in the pelvis. When cancer spreads, it can block the normal flow of lymph, resulting in a build-up of fluid, which can cause swelling and pain. 

Second, treatments for cervical cancer can also cause lymphedema. Surgery to remove cancer or radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells can damage the lymphatic system, leading to fluid build-up. In addition, chemotherapy can cause inflammation of the lymph nodes, which can also lead to lymphedema.  

Symptoms of Lymphedema  

The most common symptom of lymphedema is swelling, usually in the arms or legs. Other symptoms can include pain, tightness in the affected area, and a decreased range of motion. Skin texture, such as thickening, and an increased risk of infection due to fluid build-up may also be symptoms of lymphedema.

Lymphedema TreatmentCompreShape Short

Lymphedema has no cure, but treatments are available to help manage the symptoms. These treatments can include:  

  • Manual lymphatic drainage: This massage can help reduce swelling and improve lymphatic flow.  
  • Compression garments: Wearing compression garments can help reduce swelling and provide support. Some good options for swelling in the abdomen and groin area are the Sigvaris CompreShort and CompreCapri.  The Genifit Female Chip Pad can also help break up lymphatic fluid and fibrosis.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help reduce swelling and improve the range of motion. Movement is essential for lymphedema as the lymph system has no pump like the circulatory system does.  Moving your body moves lymph!
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove fluid build-up. 

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

This cancer is easily treatable as long as it is detected early. As cervical cancer awareness month, January would be an excellent time for women to schedule their annual pelvic exams.

One potential complication of Cervical Cancer is lymphedema, which can cause swelling, pain, and discomfort. The causes of lymphedema can include the cancer or the treatments used to treat the cancer. Although the statistics range widely regarding the incidence of secondary lymphedema due to cervical cancer, it’s essential to be aware of the possibility. Unfortunately, lymphedema has no cure, but treatments are available to help manage the symptoms. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of cervical cancer and lymphedema can help women better manage the effects of this condition. Your health and well-being are important. Self-care is not selfish!january is cervical cancer awareness month 3

 Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.

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