Women with early cervical cancer and pre-cancer usually have no symptoms. Often, cervical cancer symptoms do not begin until the cancer becomes larger and grows into nearby tissue.
When diagnosed early, cervical cancer can be successfully treated and often cured. Therefore, in addition to having regular Pap tests performed for screening purposes, a woman should learn to recognize possible warning signs so that she can bring them to the attention of a physician or specialist.
Most of the symptoms of cervical cancer can include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after vaginal sex, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, or having (menstrual) periods that are longer or heavier than usual. Bleeding after douching may also occur.
- An unusual discharge from the vagina which may contain some blood and/or occur between your periods or after menopause.
- Pain during sex
- Pain in the pelvic region
There are five other important warning signs of cervical cancer that very few women recognize as possible cancer symptoms. Those warning signs are:
- Itching or burning sensations in the vagina
- Low back or abdominal pain
- Unexplained fatigue
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Abdominal bloating
Some signs and symptoms seen with more advanced disease can include:
- Swelling of the legs
- Problems urinating or having a bowel movement
- Blood in the urine
The key to the early detection of cervical cancer is for each woman to become familiar with her own body and aware of what is normal for her. Also, it might be tempting to search the Internet for information about cervical cancer symptoms, but it’s important to proceed with caution and be aware that there is a lot of misinformation out there. If something unusual occurs, the best approach is to see a trusted and qualified medical professional who can provide individualized advice and guidance.
If you would like to discuss possible cervical cancer symptoms with a gynecologic oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, you do not need to request a referral from your physician. To get started, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online.