University of Pennsylvania Health System

Focus on Cancer

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Learn the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

January is cervical cancer awareness month. This article is the third in a series that discusses cervical cancer, its prevention, symptoms and treatment.

In its early stages, cervical cancer usually has no symptoms. It develops slowly, beginning as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia. Symptoms of cervical cancer often do not begin until the cancer spreads into nearby tissue.

Cervical cancer starts in the lower part of the uterus that opens at the top of the vagina. If cervical cancer spreads into nearby tissue, symptoms may include:

  • Increased vaginal discharge including discharge that is pale, watery, pink, brown, bloody or foul-smelling
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
  • Periods become heavier and last longer than usual
  • Any bleeding after menopause
  • Pain during intercourse
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is best to contact a physician for a diagnosis. If interested in making an appointment with a Penn Medicine physician, call 1-800-789-PENN (7366) or make an online appointment here.

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