Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Cervical cancer

All women who are or have been sexually active or who are 18 years of age or older should have a pelvic exam and a Pap test every year. This exam and test helps to prevent most cases of cervical cancer.

Warning signs:

  • There may not be any early signs of cervical cancer. The most important prevention is to have a yearly Pap smear.
  • The most common symptom of cancer of the cervix is unusual bleeding. It may start and stop between your regular periods, start after having sex, douching or after a pelvic exam. Your period may last longer and be heavier than usual.
  • Changes in vaginal discharge also may be a warning sign. Pain is not an early warning sign of cervical cancer.