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 or small cervical cancers rarely have symptoms. Symptoms often don't start until the cancer cells grow and invade the deepest parts of the cervix and possibly other pelvic organs.

This is why it’s important to get regular Pap tests. The Pap test checks for cells that are cancer or precancer. Finding precancer cells means they can be treated before they turn into true cancer. And cervical cancer is easier to treat if it's found early, when it's small and has not spread.

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

  • Vaginal discharge. You may have a watery, bloody, or unusual discharge. There may be an odor.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding. You may have bleeding or spotting 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. Still, it's important to see a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.

Online Medical Reviewer: Howard Goodman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2021
© 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.