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Symptoms of cervical cancer

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What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

There are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer that you should be aware of. These include;

  • Abnormal bleeding: during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • Post menopausal bleeding: if you are not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or have stopped it for six weeks or more
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
  • Lower back pain.

Cervical cancer symptoms

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

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

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. You should report these symptoms even if you have recently had a cervical screening (smear test) that came back normal. Remember, these symptoms can be associated with many other conditions that are not cancer related.

There are usually no symptoms associated with abnormal cervical cells and not all women diagnosed with cervical cancer experience symptoms, which is why it is so important to attend regular cervical screening when you are invited.

As cervical cancer develops it can cause further symptoms. These may include:

  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Bleeding from the bottom
  • Diarrhoea
  • Incontinence
  • Lower limb lymphoedema (swelling).

Where to find support

If you're worried about cervical cancer or abnormalities, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is here to support you.


Tessa’s story

Tessa talks about how she initially ignored her symptoms as she wasn’t aware of what they could mean.

‘I'd been having a few problems with irregular bleeding for over a year and slowly they had been getting worse. I wasn't worried as it never occurred to me bleeding was a sign of cancer. I had never been educated about cervical cancer. So I continued to tolerate the bleeding for another six months.’

Read Tessa’s full story here.


Would you like to get involved with our work by helping us develop and improve our information and services? Visit the pages on our patient feedback group, Jo’s Voices, to see how to get involved.

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Date last updated: 
22 Jul 2016
Date due for review: 
22 Jul 2019

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