9 Warning Signs Of Cervical Cancer You Should Not Ignore

Written by Dr. Pramod Mane on Wed, 16 November 2022


Just the name cancer scares the bejesus out of most human beings, right? The tricky thing about cervical cancer, infamously known as a silent killer among women is that it does not show any symptoms until it's very late.

What makes it even trickier is that even if someone has all the symptoms, it might not necessarily mean they have the cancer, leaving women confused. Since awareness about this cancer type is also low, it is also extremely important to be aware of cervical cancer: myths & facts, and watch out for early warning signs of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer can only show up through Pap tests that your gynecologist might recommend, in case she senses an abnormality in the cervix. Reason why it is crucial for women to opt for regular screenings, to continually keep a tab on her gynecological health.

However, our bodies give us signals when something is wrong. All we need is to keep a close watch on be signs of cervical cancer symptoms, and practice self care tips for wellbeing accordingly.

Here are 9 warning signs of cervical cancer you shouldn't ignore. To know more, read on!

9 Cervical cancer signs that you shouldn't ignore

1. Bleeding or spotting

Reports suggest that unexplained bleeding can be a strong sign of cervical cancer. Many symptoms can be vague, but bleeding off periods, after intercourse, or after menopause can be some scary signs that we should be concerned about. Some other similar signs include excessive menstrual bleeding, bleeding following a pelvic exam, after douching, or extensive menstrual periods.

2. Foul-smelling discharge

Vaginal discharge can be due to many reasons. However, if it is too watery and foul smelling, that's a red flag. Moreover, a clear to milky white and stretchy vaginal discharge is considered normal. But, if that's fishy smelling then it could be a sign of an infection.

3. Pelvic pain

In terms of pain in the lower back and the pelvis, if it's of persistent nature, then it should be a matter of concern. Moreover, if the pain somehow feels close to your appendix (in the lower right side of the abdomen), that can mean that the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. In this case, you should speak to your specialist immediately.

4. Pain during intercourse

Tumor growth in the cervix tissue can lead to pain during intercourse. This generally means that the cancer is at an advanced stage. But, again not every incidence of pain is a warning sign. Experts suggest that it can also mean an inflamed or swollen cervix, vaginal infection or a polyp which are non-serious signs. This is where the importance of getting tested comes in; once you feel somethings is unusual or not consistent with the body you must get tested.

5. Abnormal pap test

An abnormal pap test is not the reason to get scared right away, says experts. After a careful analysis of the test results, your doctor will find out what abnormalities were found. Basis that, if there's something to be scared of, the doctor will suggest an additional test just to double check the previous results.

6. Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

Loss of appetite and sudden or unexplained weight loss is a very well-known scary sign of cancer. But that doesn't mean cancer right away. If you experience some other symptoms along with these warning signs, then it's time to visit the doctor. Apart from these signs, fatigue or extreme tiredness is another warning sign to be concerned about, but only when it occurs in addition to other symptoms.

7. Leg pain or swelling

Swelling of legs and pain is an important sign for cervical cancer development as it doesn't show up until a later stage of the disease. This leg pain is due to the blockage of the lymph nodes in the area between our hip bones. The cancer cells stop the drainage of the lymph fluid from our legs which keeps building up, resulting in swelling and pain called as lymphedema.

8. Having HPV

This is considered less of a warning and more of a risk factor for cervical cancer development. Women previously infected by HPV are more prone to get cervical cancer compared to others. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection which is characterized by formation of faulty proteins which damages the tumor suppressive effect of our genes, further leading to uncontrolled growth of cells in the cervix and cancer.

There are several treatment options which one could consider getting after a thorough consultation with the doctor. There's also a vaccine available for the virus which is available for boys and girls aged 11-13 years of age. One can also get it until age 45.

9. Having HIV or AIDS

Women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are more susceptible to having cervical cancer due to their weaker immune system making it a major warning sign or a risk factor. Experts say that a compromised immune system or immunodeficiency can increase the chances of getting the cancer by 5 times.


Dr. Pramod Mane

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Pharmacology., currently based in Mumbai, India, Dr Pramod Mane, comes with an experience of more than 20 years of working in Medical Affairs in the Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceutical Industry. Director of Medical Services at Mega Lifesciences since 2008, Dr Mane has been associated with several MNCS in the areas of Medical Affairs, Medical Services, Medico-marketing, Pharmacovigilance & Clinical trials in his illustrious career.

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