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Cervical Cancer: Symptoms  

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

If you have cervical cancer, you may not feel any different than you normally do. That’s because cervical cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms until the cancer has spread.

It’s rare to have symptoms of cervical cancer. But you should see your provider if you experience anything that feels out of the ordinary for you.

For example, schedule an appointment if you have:

  • Changes in vaginal discharge. This means discharge that is more watery than usual, is bloody, or has an odor.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Abnormal bleeding means bleeding or spotting between your periods or after sex. It also means a heavier or longer lasting period than you normally have. Or you may have bleeding after menopause.

  • Pain. Any discomfort or pain during sex or in your pelvic area.

If cervical cancer grows and spreads outside of the cervix and to other body areas, additional symptoms may include:

  • Pain. You may have pain or difficulty when urinating or during a bowel movement. Pain may occur in the back and lower abdomen or pelvic area.

  • Abnormal bleeding. You may have blood in your urine. During a bowel movement you may have rectal bleeding.

  • Other symptoms: You may feel more tired than usual. Leg swelling may occur.

When to see your healthcare provider

Remember: Just because you experience these changes doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. Other health issues can cause similar symptoms. Be sure to tell your provider what your body is doing and how you are feeling.

Find cancer early

It’s important to get regular Pap tests so that you can stay on top of your health. The Pap test looks for changes to your cervical cells. Changing cells can be a sign of precancer or cancer.

Precancer cells can be treated before they turn into true cancer. Another benefit of Pap tests: They can find cervical cancer early, when it’s small and much easier to treat. Talk to your healthcare provider about Pap tests and when you should have them.

Online Medical Reviewer: Howard Goodman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Susan K. Dempsey-Walls APRN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2023
© 2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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