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Cervical cancer

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Symptoms of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms often appear once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as cervical cancer.

See your doctor if you have these symptoms:

  • pale, watery, pink, brown or bloody discharge from the vagina between periods
  • unusually long or heavy periods
  • bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • bleeding or bloody discharge from the vagina after menopausemenopauseThe time in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing estrogen and she has not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Most women start menopause between 45 and 55 years of age.
  • bleeding after a pelvic exam or vaginal douching
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • increased amount of discharge from the vagina
  • foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

Late symptoms develop as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs. Late symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • difficulty urinating
  • loss of bladder control (called incontinence)
  • blood in the urine (called hematuria)
  • difficulty having a bowel movement
  • blood in the stool
  • constipation
  • leaking of urine or feces from the vagina
  • pain in the pelvic area or lower back that may go down one or both legs
  • edema, or swelling, of the legs
  • anemia (a reduction in the number of healthy red blood cells)
  • weight loss
  • shortness of breath
  • bone pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness or lack of energy)
  • loss of appetite


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