Cervical Cancer Symptoms

Often, cervical cancer has few signs or symptoms in its early stages. Once it begins to progress, symptoms of cervical cancer can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, discharge, and pelvic pain.

Getting screened by a doctor is the best way to prevent cervical cancer or detect it at an early stage. How often you need to get tested depends on your age and medical history.

This article discusses the signs, symptoms, and complications of cervical cancer. It will also explain when it is best to contact your doctor.

What are the common symptoms of cervical cancer?

The most common early symptoms of cervical cancer include bleeding, pain anywhere between the buttocks (pelvic pain), and vaginal discharge.


Bleeding is the most common first symptom of cervical cancer. Bleeding from cervical cancer may look like this:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding: This can happen when you don’t have your period or after your periods have stopped. It is sometimes light and easy to overlook.
  • Menorrhagia: Menorrhagia or a period that lasts longer than normal can be a sign of cervical cancer. Tracking your period can help you understand what’s “normal” for a particular cycle.
  • Postcoital bleeding: Postcoital bleeding should be evaluated, even if it is only a small amount.is also called bleeding after sexwhich may also be related to another condition, such as an infection.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • you bleed during non-menstrual periods
  • you are still bleeding even though your period has stopped
  • you bleed after sex
  • your period is heavier than usual

pelvic pain

Pelvic pain is another symptom of cervical cancer. Pain may get worse during or after sex.

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Signs of different types of gynecological cancers

vaginal discharge

An abnormal vaginal discharge is another possible sign of cervical cancer.

Discharge may be pale, brown, or pink. It may also look watery or contain blood. It may or may not have an odor.

What are the rare symptoms of cervical cancer?

As cervical cancer develops, it can lead to:

  • Back pain: Back pain, which can also lead to leg pain, may be due to pressure from an enlarged tumor or abnormal growth. In these cases, your doctor may see the tumor on imaging tests such as X-rays.
  • Leg swelling: Swelling may occur if the tumor puts pressure on the leg lymph nodesor glands that are part of the immune system, can cause a backup of blood and fluid in the legs.
  • Bowel and bladder symptoms: Symptoms may include painful urination and/or bowel movements, and loss of bowel and bladder control.

What are the complications of cervical cancer?

There are four distinct stages of cervical cancer. Complications occur when cancer progresses to an advanced or higher stage and affects other parts of the body.

Bleeding, pelvic pain, and vaginal discharge may begin when the cancer has just begun to spread.

If the cancer progresses:

  • The tumor can spread to the upper two-thirds of the vagina and the area around the uterus. These cancers may even spread to the lower third of the vagina and/or the pelvic wall.
  • The tumor may block one or both of the ureters, the tubes that run from the kidneys to the bladder, potentially leading to kidney failure.
  • Tumors may spread from the cervical area to the wall of the bladder or rectum to other areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or bones.
  • Unintentional weight loss and exhaustion can also occur.
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Other symptoms may occur when cervical cancer has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. For example, bone and back pain may occur when cervical cancer spreads to the bones, and coughing may occur if it spreads to the lungs.

When to see a healthcare provider

If you develop any symptoms related to cervical cancer, you should make an appointment to see your healthcare provider.

Please track your symptoms carefully before your appointment. Be aware of when and how often you develop symptoms, and when those symptoms appear.

All of this information will help your healthcare provider understand what’s going on so they can give you an accurate diagnosis.

routine screening

It is important to have the Pap smear on the recommended schedule.

Not only is cervical cancer very easy to cure, especially in its early stages, But up to 93% of cases can be prevented with regular screening.

With regular screening, a person has a low chance of developing advanced cervical cancer.

How to Treat Cervical Cancer


Cervical cancer does not usually cause symptoms in its early stages. When it does cause symptoms, abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, and vaginal discharge are most likely.

Less common symptoms include swollen legs, back pain, and loss of bowel and bladder control. If the cancer continues to spread, it can affect other parts of the body and cause other symptoms.

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If you notice any signs of cervical cancer, talk to your healthcare provider and make sure to have routine screenings.

What a Pap smear result means

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the early symptoms of cervical cancer?

    Early signs of cervical cancer may involve abnormal bleeding or vaginal discharge, but in many cases, there are no warning signs in the early stages. Also, symptoms can vary from person to person.

  • What is cervical cancer staging?

    Doctors use cervical cancer staging to track the progression of cervical cancer in a person. These stages range from I to IV, although each stage has multiple sub-stages to provide more details about the cancer. Lower numbers indicate that cervical cancer has not spread or not at all, while higher numbers are used to show more advanced cancers.

  • What does cervical cancer pain feel like?

    In the early stages, cervical cancer is most likely to cause pain in parts of the body close to the cancer site, such as the pelvis and lower back. More advanced cervical cancer can cause swelling in the legs and problems urinating, including blood in the urine. Using cancer screening to catch cervical cancer at an early stage is the best way to treat these symptoms.

  • Is thrush a sign of cervical cancer?

    Thrush is a yeast infection and not a sign of cervical cancer. While it is possible to have both, there does not appear to be a significant connection between the two.