Abnormal vaginal bleeding
If you’re experiencing random bleeding in the middle of the month or irregular or heavier-than-usual menstruation, these could be signs of cervical cancer. Vaginal bleeding can also occur in postmenopausal women who no longer have menstrual periods. This, however, is not normal and could be a sign of cervical cancer or another problem. “The most common subtle signs of cervical cancer are abnormal bleeding of any kind,” says John Moroney, MD, associate professor in gynecologic oncology at the University of Chicago. Here are other cancer symptoms women are likely to ignore.
Bleeding after sex
Bleeding after vaginal intercourse, known medically as “post-coital bleeding,” could also be a sign of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that connects to the vagina. When a patient develops cervical cancer, the cells begin to multiple abnormally and rapidly and can form a mass composed of cancerous tissue. This mass is what bleeds when a woman has intercourse. “We call it ‘friable’ like it wants to bleed easily,” says Tracy Scheller, MD, a gynecologist in Englewood, New Jersey. “It wants to bleed when it’s touched. So, that’s why you can get that bleeding in the middle of the month [and] bleeding with intercourse.”