Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Cervical cancer - Symptoms

Cervical cancer symptoms are not always obvious.

The cancer may not cause any symptoms at all until it has reached an advanced stage.

This is why you should attend all your cervical screening appointments when they are due.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It's a test that can help prevent cancer from developing.

Read more about cervical screening

Unusual bleeding

Unusual bleeding from the vagina is usually the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer.

This includes bleeding:

  • outside of your normal periods
  • during or after sex
  • after you have been through the menopause

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP if:

  • you experience any type of unusual bleeding from the vagina

Bleeding from the vagina is very common. A lot of things can cause it.

Unusual bleeding from the vagina does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. But it needs to be checked out by your GP.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include:

  • vaginal spotting or unusual discharge
  • pain during sex
  • bleeding after sex
  • pain in your pelvis (anywhere between your belly button and the top of your thighs)

Symptoms of advanced cervical cancer

Advanced cancer can spread out of your cervix. It can spread into tissue and organs around the cervix. This can lead to a range of other symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • pain in your lower back or pelvis
  • severe pain in your side or back
  • constipation
  • peeing or pooing more often than normal
  • blood in your pee
  • swelling of one or both legs
  • severe bleeding from the vagina

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 30 December 2019
Next review due: 30 December 2022

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.