Signs & Symptoms

Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms seen in cervical cancer.

A continued infection with specific types of HPV (most frequently types 16 and 18) may lead to the development of precancerous lesions. If left untreated, these lesions may progress to cervical cancer, although this usually takes many years.

Symptoms of cervical cancer tend to appear only after the cancer has reached an advanced stage and may include [11]:

  • irregular, intermenstrual (between periods) or abnormal vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse;
  • back, leg or pelvic pain;
  • fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite;
  • vaginal discomfort or odorous discharge; and
  • a single swollen leg.

More severe symptoms may arise at advanced stages.

Genital warts

Types of 6 and 11 of HPV infections are known as low-risk types of HPV, as they are non-cancer causing types of HPV infection [12]. These two types of HPV can cause genital warts. Genital warts are highly infectious and common; they are passed from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact, usually during sex play. Common genital warts are flesh-colored, soft-to-the-touch bumps on the skin that may look like the surface of a cauliflower. Genital warts can appear in the mouth or genital area—the vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, or scrotum [13].

Many people may worry that their genital warts will place them at risk of cancer, but the types of HPV that cause genital warts do not cause cancer. However, it’s not unusual to have more than one HPV infection at a time and warts can be a sign of infection for more serious types of HPV [14].


[11] “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Mar. 2015. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.
[12] “Genital Warts at a Glance.” STD Symptoms, Treatment and Removal. Planned Parenthood, 2014. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.
[13] ibid.
[14] ibid.