Symptoms and Signs of Cervical Cancer
Precancer often does not cause any signs or symptoms. Symptoms do typically appear with early-stage cervical cancer. With advanced cancer or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the symptoms may be more severe depending on the tissues and organs to which the disease has spread.
The cause of a symptom may also be a different medical condition that is not cancer, which is why people need to seek medical care if they have a new symptom that does not go away.
Any of the following could be signs or symptoms of cervical cancer:
- Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods
- Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual
- Bleeding after intercourse, douching, or a pelvic examination
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after menopause
- Unexplained, persistent pelvic and/or back pain
Any of these symptoms should be reported to your doctor. If these symptoms appear, it is important to talk with your doctor about them even if they appear to be symptoms of other, less serious conditions.
The earlier precancerous cells or cancer are found and treated, the better the chance that cancer can be prevented or cured.
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.
If cervical cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may be called palliative care or supportive care. It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.