At the early stages, there really are no symptoms, says Matthew Anderson, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine.
On the other hand, if you’re noticing symptoms, your cancer may be fairly advanced. A cure is still possible at that stage, but it’s a lot more complex. That cure will probably involve radiation or chemotherapy, and the outcomes are less certain.
Unusual vaginal bleeding is the symptom most strongly linked to cervical cancer. This could be bleeding after intercourse or between periods. Heavier-than-normal periods or bleeding after menopause are also potential signs of cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Along with abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain is one of the biggies. The pain could be diffuse, or it could show up in any area of your pelvis. It could also range from a sharp pain to a dull ache. Especially if the pain is new or doesn’t seem related to your menstrual cycle, you’ll want to let your doctor know about it. Pain during sex or urination are also warning signs.
A cloudy, foul-smelling discharge is also a potential red flag, Anderson says. [The discharge] could also be watery. Of course, there are many causes of abnormal vaginal discharge that have nothing to do with cancer. So don’t freak out. Just talk with your doc.
You can add cervical cancer to the long list of health issues that could make you feel fatigued or sluggish. This isn’t the first symptom I’d look for, but it could be present.