Understanding Cervical Cancer -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

In the early stages, cervical precancers or cervical cancers cause no pain or other symptoms. That's why it's vital for women to get regular pelvic exams and Pap tests to detect cancer in its earliest stage when it's treatable.

The first identifiable symptoms of cervical cancer are likely to include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as after intercourse, between menstrual periods, or after menopause; menstrual periods may be heavier and last longer than normal.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Vaginal discharge and odor.
  • Pelvic pain.

If cervical cancer has spread to nearby tissues, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty urinating, pain when urinating or blood in urine
  • Dull backache or swelling in the legs
  • Diarrhea, or pain or bleeding from the rectum upon defecation
  • Fatigue, loss of weight and appetite, and general feeling of illness
  • A swollen abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and constipation

Call Your Doctor About Cervical Cancer if:

You have abnormal bleeding, bleeding after intercourse, vaginal discharge, or any other symptoms of cervical cancer. You should have a complete gynecological exam that includes a Pap smear.

NOTE: Any vaginal bleeding after menopause should be brought to your doctor's attention right away. The cause may simply be vaginal dryness or a benign uterine polyp, but vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of cervical and uterine cancer.

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