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Cervical Cancer: Symptoms  

Photo of woman looking toward the camera
Symptoms of cervical cancer are rarely alarming and may be overlooked. That’s why regular screening tests, such as the Pap test, are important.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Women with precancer cells in their cervix rarely have symptoms. A woman often does not have any symptoms until the cells turn into cancer and then grow and invade the deepest parts of the cervix or other pelvic organs. That’s why it’s important to have regular Pap tests. Cervical cancer is easier to treat in its early stages, when it's small and has not spread. The Pap test checks for cells that are cancer or precancer.

Symptoms of cervical cancer are often like other conditions that aren’t cancer, and may include:

  • Vaginal discharge. You may have a watery, bloody, or unusual discharge.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Your may have bleeding between your periods or after sex. Blood flow during your period may be heavier and last longer than usual. Or you may have bleeding after menopause.

  • Pain. You may have pain during sex or pain in the pelvic area.

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Lu Cunningham
Online Medical Reviewer: Richard LoCicero MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2018
© 2021 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.