Cervical Cancer Signs & Symptoms

As with most other cancers, cervical cancer does not typically cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

However, this is not always the case for everyone. This is why it's very important for you to attend all your cervical cancer screening appointments. The sooner abnormal cells in the cervix are caught, the sooner they can be monitored and treated. 

Any of the following could be signs or symptoms of cervical cancer or symptoms abnormal cervical cells:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods and menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual
  • Pain during sex 
  • Bleeding after sex, douching, or a pelvic examination
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Persistent pelvic and/or back pain 
  • Difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement
  • Swelling of the legs 

Advanced symptoms of cervical cancer

If the cancer spreads out of your cervix and into surrounding tissue and organs, it can trigger a range of other symptoms, including: 

  • Constipation
  • Blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
  • Bone pain
  • Swelling of one of your legs
  • Severe pain in your side or back caused by swelling in your kidneys, related to a condition called hydronephrosis
  • Changes to your bladder and bowel habits
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy

It’s important to keep in mind that symptoms could be caused by something other than cancer. However, to get a proper diagnosis, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or gynecologist if you have a new symptom that does not go away. If it is cancer, ignoring the symptoms may make it more difficult to treat.