Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
There are usually no early symptoms of cervical cancer, which is why cervical cancer screenings are so important. When cervical cancer becomes worse, symptoms can develop. These signs and symptoms can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods, and menstrual bleeding that lasts longer and is heavier than usual.
Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time, which means that before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia (precancerous changes). During dysplasia, cells that are not normal begin to appear in the cervical tissue. Later, cancer cells start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.
There are usually no early cervical cancer symptoms, which is why cervical cancer screenings are so important. Regular cervical cancer screenings allow doctors to see early changes in the cervix that could be signs of cervical cancer. It is important to note that pain is not an early cervical cancer symptom. Therefore, patients should not to wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor.
(Click Early Symptoms of Cervical Cancer for more information.)
When cervical cancer becomes worse, women may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam
- Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
- Bleeding after menopause
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Infections or other health problems may also cause the same symptoms as cervical cancer. Therefore, women who have possible symptoms of cervical cancer should tell their doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.