Signs & Symptoms
Very early stages of cervical cancer can produce the following signs and symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause
- Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor
- Pelvic pain during intercourse
Advanced cervical cancer can produce the following signs and symptoms:
- Development of pain to the flank or leg
- Patients may complain of painful urination, blood in their urine, or rectal bleeding
- Lower extremity swelling and edema
Because some of these symptoms do not appear until cervical cancer is present, and because the symptoms might be mistaken for other ailments, it is imperative for women and teens, starting at the age of 21, or 3 years after first intercourse (whichever is earlier), to get annual Pap test screenings that can detect the earliest changes in the cervix that lead to cervical cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ website outlines their recommendations for a girl’s first visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist.
Regular Pap test screenings are the best way to detect cervical changes before they develop into cancer. If you need more information or would like to make an appointment with a Northwestern Memorial Hospital gynecologist for yourself or your daughter for the first time, call our Physician Referral Department at 1-877-926-4664 or request an appointment online.