What Are the Symptoms?Symptoms may not appear in the early stages of cervical cancer. Therefore, women should have yearly checkups, including a Pap smear, to check for abnormal cells in the cervix.
When cervical cancer worsens, women may experience symptoms, which include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Although these symptoms may be caused by cervical cancer, there are other conditions that may cause these same symptoms. Therefore, you should consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
(Click Symptoms of Cervical Cancer for more information.)
Making a Diagnosis
In order to diagnose a patient, a healthcare provider will:
- Look to see if the patient has possible symptoms of cervical cancer
- Order Pap test results, which may show precancerous cells or cervical cancer
- Perform a physical exam
- Ask about the patient's personal and family medical history
- Recommend additional tests and procedures.
The tests and exams that are used to make a cervical cancer diagnosis may include:
- Punch biopsy
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
- Endocervical curettage
(Click Cervical Cancer Diagnosis for more information.)
Stages of Cervical Cancer
After the cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out how far the cancer has spread within the cervix and other parts of the body. In order to treat cervical cancer, it is important to know the stage of cancer that you have.
The stages of cervical cancer include:
- Stage 0
- Stage I
- Stage II
- Stage III
- Stage IV
(Click Stages of Cervical Cancer for more information about these stages.)