Are Cervical Cancer Symptoms Different at Each Stage?

There are five stages of cervical cancer. Staging information describes how far the cancer has spread and whether it has affected other parts of the body at the time of diagnosis. The symptoms that are present at each stage can vary based on the location and extent of the cancer.

What are the stages of cervical cancer?

The main stages of cervical cancer are:

  • Stage 0 – Precancerous cells are found in the inner lining of the cervix.
  • Stage 1 – The cancer is confined to the cervix.
  • Stage 2 – The cancer has spread beyond the cervix to the upper two-thirds of the vagina.
  • Stage 3 – The cancer has grown into the lower third of the vagina or the pelvic wall.
  • Stage 4 – The cancer has invaded the bladder, rectum or a distant area of the body, such as the lungs, liver or bones.

What are the signs of cervical cancer?

Early-stage cervical cancer usually does not produce any symptoms. However, as the cancer progresses, abnormal cells can begin to build up and form tumors on the cervix and other tissues and organs. At that point, noticeable symptoms may begin to occur, such as vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain and leg swelling.

Through routine Pap smear testing, cancer of the cervix can often be detected before it has a chance to produce any symptoms. This relatively simple – and potentially life-saving – screening test is highly reliable and generally recommended for all women between the ages of 21 and 65. Awareness is also important because ignoring symptoms can allow the cancer to advance. Since many cervical cancer symptoms are also associated with other, less serious conditions, such as infection, the best course of action is to see a physician for a proper diagnosis as soon as possible if anything unusual occurs.

If you’d like to learn more about cervical cancer symptoms and stages, you can request an appointment with an oncologist in the gynecologic clinic at Moffitt Cancer Center. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals.