Early cervical cancer may not cause noticeable signs or symptoms. Women should have yearly check-ups, including a Pap smear to check for abnormal cells in the cervix. The prognosis (chance of recovery) is better when the cancer is found early. Researchers have shown that the majority of cervical cancers are associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. It is important to note, however, that most women infected with HPV will not develop cervical cancer.
Possible signs of cervical cancer include vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. These and other symptoms may be caused by cervical cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Women should consult a doctor if any of the following problems occur:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse