The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and it may not cause any at all until it's reached an advanced stage.
This is why it's very important to you attend all your cervical screening appointments.
In most cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer.
This includes bleeding:
- during or after sex
- between your periods
- after you have been through the menopause
Visit your GP for advice if you experience any type of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain and discomfort during sex, unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge, and pain in your lower back or pelvis.
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:
- pain in your lower back or pelvis
- severe pain in your side or back caused by your kidneys
- peeing or pooing more often than normal
- losing control of your bladder (urinary incontinence) or losing control of your bowels (bowel incontinence)
- blood in your pee
- swelling of one or both legs
- severe vaginal bleeding
When to seek medical advice
You should contact your GP if you experience:
- bleeding after sex (postcoital bleeding)
- bleeding outside of your normal periods
- new bleeding after the menopause
Vaginal bleeding is very common and can have a wide range of causes, so it does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. However, unusual vaginal bleeding needs to be investigated by your GP.
Page last reviewed: 11 May 2018
Next review due: 11 May 2021