Most women do not have any signs or symptoms of a precancer or early stage cervical cancer. Symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer has spread to other tissues and organs. These symptoms may also be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.
Any of the following could be signs or symptoms of cervical dysplasia or 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
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after menopause
- Increased vaginal discharge
Any of these six symptoms should be reported to the 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. Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often. The earlier precancerous cells or cancer is found and treated, the better the chance that the cancer can be prevented or cured.
If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.