The most common symptom of womb cancer is unusual (abnormal) bleeding from the vagina, although most people with abnormal bleeding do not have cancer.

It may start as light bleeding and a watery discharge, which may get heavier over time. Most women diagnosed with womb cancer have been through the menopause, so any vaginal bleeding will be unusual.

In women who have not been through the menopause, unusual vaginal bleeding may be:

Less common symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen (tummy) and pain during sex.

If womb cancer reaches a more advanced stage, it may cause additional symptoms. These include:

  • pain in the back, legs or pelvis
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • nausea

When to see a GP

See a GP if you have bleeding after the menopause or notice a change in the normal pattern of your period.

Only 1 in 10 cases of vaginal bleeding after the menopause are caused by womb cancer, so it's unlikely your symptoms will be caused by this.

However, if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, it's important to investigate the cause. The bleeding may be the result of a number of other potentially serious health conditions, such as:

  • endometriosis – where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside of the womb
  • fibroids or polyps – non-cancerous growths that can develop inside the womb

Other types of gynaecological cancers can also cause unusual vaginal bleeding, particularly cervical cancer.