Many cervical cancers are found in the early stages through Pap smear testing, and present without significant signs. As a cervical cancer grows, however, women may notice such symptoms as:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Bleeding during intercourse
Large cervical cancers that have spread beyond the cervix may result in signs such as:
- Bleeding with urination or bowel movements
- Pelvic, back or leg pain
- A swollen leg
- Weight loss, fatigue, or loss of appetite
Women with any of these symptoms should see their health care provider for a gynecologic examination.
Several risk factors are known to increase the likelihood for cervical cancer development. These include:
- HPV infection
- Multiple sex partners, or having sex with men who have had many partners
- Lack of routine Pap smear testing
Women with any of these risk factors should undergo annual Pap smear testing until otherwise advised by their health care provider.