ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the changes and medical problems that can be a sign of cervical cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.
What are the symptoms and signs of cervical cancer?
A precancerous lesion of the cervix often does not cause any symptoms or signs. Symptoms or signs do typically appear with early-stage cervical cancer. With advanced cervical cancer, which is 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.
Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. The cause of a symptom or sign may also be a medical condition that is not cancer, which is why people need to seek medical care if they have a new symptom or sign that does not go away.
Any of the following could be symptoms or signs 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 in the cervix is found and treated, the better the chance that the cancer can be prevented or cured.
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will try to understand what is causing your symptom(s). They may do an exam and order tests to understand the cause of the problem, which is called a diagnosis.
If cervical cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called "palliative and supportive care," which is not the same as hospice care given at the end of life. This type of care focuses on managing symptoms and supporting people who face serious illnesses, such as cancer. You can receive palliative and supportive care at any time during cancer treatment. Learn more in this guide’s section on Coping with Treatment.
Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.
The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.