Cervical Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer

Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms. Symptoms often do not begin until the cancer becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissue. When this happens, the most common symptoms are:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after vaginal sex, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and having (menstrual) periods that are longer or heavier than usual. Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam may also occur.
  • An unusual discharge from the vagina. The discharge may contain some blood and may occur between your periods or after menopause.
  • Pain during sex.

These signs and symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than cervical cancer. For example, an infection can cause pain or bleeding. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, see a health care professional right away. Ignoring symptoms may allow the cancer to grow to a more advanced stage and lower your chance for effective treatment.

Even better, don't wait for symptoms to appear. Have regular Pap tests and pelvic exams.


Last Medical Review: 11/16/2016
Last Revised: 12/05/2016