Cervical Cancer: Symptoms

Photo of woman looking toward the camera

Symptoms of cervical cancer are often mild and may be overlooked. That’s why regular screening tests, such as the Pap smear, are important.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Women with precancerous cells in their cervix usually have no symptoms. A woman often does not have any symptoms until the cells turn into cancer and then grow and invade the deepest parts of the cervix or other pelvic organs. That’s why it’s important to have a regular Pap test. Cervical cancer is easier to treat in its early stages. The Pap test checks for cells that are cancer or precancer.

Symptoms of cervical cancer are often like other conditions that aren’t cancer, and may include:

  • Vaginal discharge. You may have a watery or unusual discharge.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Your may have bleeding between your periods or after sex. Blood flow during your period may be heavier and last longer than usual. Or you may have bleeding after menopause.

  • Pain. You may have pain during sex or pain in the pelvic area not from sex or other activities.

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.