Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
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 periods
- Menstrual bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than usual
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after douching
- Bleeding after a pelvic exam
Other symptoms may include:
- Unusual vaginal discharge, with or without blood
- Pain during sexual intercourse
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Later stages of cancer may cause:
- Pelvic pain or a sensation of a mass
- Abdominal or back pain caused by pressure on nearby nerves
- Obstructive urinary tract or rectal problems
- Decreased appetite and unintended weight loss
- Intense fatigue, abnormally low energy
- Swelling in the legs, which may be caused by an obstruction in the veins or lymphatic system
- Bone 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 Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114831/Cervical-cancer. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.
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.