Things I Didn’t Know About Cervical Cancer

I mentioned I’ve spent the last month undergoing tests.  This is true.  It is also a lie by omission, mainly because I didn’t want anyone to panic or send me a hundred sympathy messages.  However, after learning some things this week, I decided I had to share.

All the testing began in early March because I had an abnormal Pap smear (or abnormal cervical smear in some places).  Everyone’s first thought was, I’m menopausal and young to be in menopause, it’s not a big deal.  After some more thought though, they sent me for a biopsy.

However, I have none of the “normal” symptoms that say I might have cervical cancer except the bad Pap smear and the fatigue (I am so exhausted all the time).  I have other symptoms, like I randomly hurt, mostly in my legs and back.  I can be fine, then I go to move, and wham!  I just hurt, sometimes enough that I want to cry.  It’s muscle pain and bone pain by the feel of it.  The other day, I felt like my ribs had been broken, but I hadn’t done anything for that to happen.  Then there’s that new, pesky migraine.  So, I went to see my primary care doctor and talk to him about these unrelated symptoms.

Only… It can, even in the early stages (such as stage 0 and 1), cervical cancer can produce a multitude of symptoms that seem completely unrelated.  No where in the literature does it say early stages may cause this – it all says late stages may cause it, not early.  But my doctor assured me that I would not be the first woman with early stage cervical cancer to report muscle and bone pain.  It can cause pain in your legs and back, sometimes your arms and shoulders.  It’s because it does raise your CRP levels (I mentioned mine were elevated earlier in the week).

As a matter of fact, early stage cervical cancer can and has been mistaken for sudden, severe onset of fibromyalgia.  What the fuck!?!  How is that not in a pamphlet?  Somewhere out there is probably another woman like me, wondering what is wrong with her and cervical cancer will never cross her mind until she has the bad pap and then she’ll still wonder if that is really what’s wrong with her because the symptoms are not the same as the ones listed.

Developing a new migraine can also be a symptom of cervical cancer or sudden severe onset of fibromyalgia.  I have other symptoms, but they are very personal and I don’t think my SO would appreciate me listing them on here.

So, as I go through testing, the most likely causes of my current problem are sudden severe onset fibromyalgia complicated by menopause or cervical cancer.  Even more interestingly, while most cervical cancer has been found to be connected to HPV, I do not have HPV.

And the majority of symptoms listed above do apply to late stage cervical cancer.  However, it is very unlikely that I have late stage cervical cancer.  Also, I have zero early stage cancer symptoms: vaginal bleeding or blood discharge not associated with menstruation, and pelvic pain.


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