Cervical Cancer (cont.)

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What are the symptoms and signs of cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer may not produce any symptoms or signs. In particular, early stage cervical cancers, like precancerous changes, typically do not produce symptoms. Symptoms may develop when the cervical cancer cells start to invade surrounding tissues.

Symptoms and signs of cervical cancer include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Vaginal bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Longer or heavier menstrual periods than usual
  • Other abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

It is important to note that these symptoms are not specific for cervical cancer and can be caused by a variety of conditions.

What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?

As described previously, cervical cancers are caused by infection with one of the high-risk HPV types. However, since not all people who are infected with HPV will develop cancer, it is likely that other factors also play a role in the development of cervical cancer. Certain risk factors have been identified that increase a woman's risk for developing cervical cancer:

  • Tobacco smoking
  • HIV infection
  • Immune system suppression
  • Past or current Chlamydia infection
  • Overweight
  • Long-term use of oral contraceptives (although the risk returns to normal when the contraceptive pills are discontinued)
  • Having 3 or more full-term pregnancies
  • Having a first full-term pregnancy before age 17
  • Poverty
  • Family history of cervical cancer
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2016


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Cervical Cancer - Risk Factors Question: Did you have any of the risk factors for cervical cancer at the time of your diagnosis? If so, what were they?
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