Cervical cancer - Symptoms 

Symptoms of cervical cancer 

The symptoms of cervical cancer aren't always obvious and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it has reached an advanced stage.

This is why it's very important for you to attend your cervical screening appointments.

Unusual bleeding

In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer. It usually occurs after having sex.

Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period, is also considered unusual.

This includes bleeding after the menopause (when a woman's monthly periods stop).

If you have any type of unusual vaginal bleeding, visit your GP for advice.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include:

Advanced cervical cancer

If the cancer spreads out of your cervix and into surrounding tissue and organs, it can trigger a range of other symptoms, including:

  • constipation
  • blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
  • bone pain
  • swelling of one of your legs
  • severe pain in your side or back caused by swelling in your kidneys related to a condition called hydronephrosis
  • changes to your bowel and bladder habits
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • tiredness and lack of energy

When to seek medical advice

It is recommended that you contact your GP if you experience:

  • bleeding after having sex (postcoital bleeding)
  • bleeding outside of your normal periods
  • new bleeding after the menopause

Vaginal bleeding is very common and can have a range of causes, so it doesn't necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer.

However, unusual vaginal bleeding is a symptom that needs to be investigated by your GP.

Page last reviewed: 17/06/2013

Next review due: 17/06/2015


How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 529 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating


The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

morcheeba1970 said on 14 August 2014

I found this site to be really helpful,all symtoms I,ve got are on this site.I was able to explain to my doctor more on a professional par regarding my symptoms.Then I got my appointment straight away.Its all about communication.Thank you so much.R.L.Marney

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

amzroads said on 23 June 2014

im slightly concerned that i wont be allowed a smear test as im only 19 nearly 20 but i have have a c section and i suffer from severe back pain and side pain i am constantly tired and often when i stand up go dizzy and blurry eyed, my periods have been lasting longer than they ever have but i dont want to be shunned by my doctor becuase im not 25 :/

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Cervical cancer community

Access Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust online forum and take part in the discussion

Cancer symptoms

Be aware of any unexplained changes to your body. Read about the typical signs and symptoms of cancer