Symptoms of cervical cancer

There are usually no symptoms with abnormal cervical cells and sometimes there are no symptoms with early stage cervical cancer. However, there are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer. These include;
  • Abnormal bleeding: during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • Post menopausal bleeding, if you are not on HRT or have stopped it for six weeks
  • Unusual and/or unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Lower back pain.
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms or are concerned about any new symptom you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible. Remember, these symptoms can be associated with many other conditions that are not cancer related.
Not all women diagnosed with cervical cancer experienced symptoms this means attending regular cervical screening is even more important.
As cancer develops, it can cause further symptoms;
  • Frequency of urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Diarrhoea
  • Incontinence
  • Lower limb lymphoedema.

If you're worried about cervical cancer or abnormalities, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is here to support you - you can ask questions by calling our helpline or find women going through similar experiences on our online forum. Read about all our support services here.

Do you know the symptoms of cervical cancer? Find out in Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust's infographic

If you want to help raise awareness of the symptoms of cervical cancer, please share this image! It's also available to download here.

Stacey's story

StaceyStacey describes the symptoms she experienced prior to being diagnosed with cervical cancer:
"I was an active and healthy young woman so when I started experiencing symptoms like stomach cramps, spot bleeding and pain during sex, I didn’t worry. As time went on I put off going to the doctors..." 
Date last updated: 
11 Feb 2014
Date due for review: 
09 Feb 2016

Have a question? Need to talk?

Our helpline is currently closed, find out when it’s next open.

Or submit your question via our Ask the Expert online service