Both the precancerous changes in the cells (cervical dysplasia) and the earliest stages of cervical cancer have no symptoms. Symptoms may not appear until the cancer is in advanced stages. If you experience any symptoms, do not assume it is due to cancer. Many symptoms can be caused by other, less serious conditions. However, it is still important to discuss them with your doctor. Early detection and treatment improve outcomes for both cancer and other health conditions.
The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal bleeding. It may include: Bleeding between your regular menstrual periodsMenstrual bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than usualBleeding after sexual intercourseBleeding after douchingBleeding after a pelvic exam
Other symptoms may include: Unusual vaginal discharge, with or without bloodPain during sexual intercourse
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Later stages of cancer may cause: Pelvic pain or a sensation of a massAbdominal or back pain caused by pressure on nearby nervesObstructive urinary tract or rectal problemsDecreased appetite and unintended weight lossIntense fatigue, abnormally low energySwelling in the legs, which may be caused by an obstruction in the veins or lymphatic systemBone pain
Cervical cancer. American Cancer Society
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003094-pdf.pdf. Accessed November 16, 2015.
Cervical cancer. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Cervical-Cancer. Updated April 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015.
Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 29, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015.
Cervical cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/gynecologic-tumors/cervical-cancer. Updated May 2013. Accessed November 16, 2015.
General information about cervical cancer. National Cancer Institute
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/patient/cervical-treatment-pdq. Updated June 12, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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