Signs, Symptoms, and Patient Management

Signs and Symptoms

Pre-invasive or early cervical cancer rarely causes signs and symptoms.

Invasive cervical cancer may cause bleeding or abnormal discharge from the vagina, commonly following sexual intercourse.

Patient Management

The workup of a patient with vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding—

  • Speculum and pelvic bimanual exam.
  • Cervical testing: Pap test, potentially with HPV testing.
  • Wet mount or nucleic acid amplification test for vaginitis/vaginosis.
  • Cervical culture or nucleic acid amplification tests if appropriate for chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and possibly herpes simplex virus.
  • Vaginal test for trichomonas.
  • If a mass or lesion is found, colposcopy and/or referral to gynecologic oncologist.

Refer patients who are diagnosed with cervical cancer to a gynecologic oncologist.

Page last reviewed: January 28, 2019