The symptoms of cervical cancer are general, meaning they are also the symptoms of many other medical conditions. Reporting symptoms to your doctor is the key for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Early Cervical Cancer SymptomsIn the early stages of cervical cancer, there are rarely any symptoms. Although cervical cancer can be diagnosed in its early stages by a routine Pap smear, usually no apparent symptoms would indicate cancer is present. This is why having a regular Pap smear is vital to early detection.
Cervical Cancer Symptoms in Later StagesAs cervical cancer progresses into more advanced stages, symptoms begin to appear. Cervical cancer symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain.Persistent pelvic pain unrelated to other conditions, menstruation, or physical exertion can be a symptom of cervical cancer.
- Pain during sexual intercourse. Some women with cervical cancer may experience pain during vaginal intercourse.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most commonly experienced cervical cancer symptom. Women should be aware of post-coital bleeding (bleeding after sex), bleeding after douching, heavy periods, heavy spotting between periods, or an additional period during the monthly cycle. Any heavy, sudden onset of abnormal vaginal bleeding should be reported to your physician immediately.
- Vaginal discharge. A vaginal discharge is a common symptom related to many women's conditions. In advanced cervical cancer, a vaginal discharge may be present and may or may not have an odor.
What to Do if You Have Cervical Cancer SymptomsIf you are experiencing cervical cancer symptoms, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. When you make your appointment, the receptionist will ask the reason for your visit. Be sure to inform him of your symptoms. This may determine how soon you see your doctor. If you feel uncomfortable speaking to the receptionist about your symptoms, ask to speak to a nurse.
Before your appointment, write down your symptoms. Include information such as when and how often you experience the symptoms, what medications (if any) alleviate the symptoms, and how long you have had the symptoms. All of this information help your doctor make a proper diagnosis.