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Cervical Cancer - Exams and Tests

Early detection

The Pap test is a routine screening test used to find abnormal cell changes of the cervix and to screen for cervical cancer. Regular Pap test screening is the most important tool in finding and treating cervical cell changes before they progress to cervical cancer.

The recommended Pap test schedule is based on your age and things that increase your risk. Talk to your doctor about how often to have this test.

Recommended Related to Cervical Cancer

Understanding Cervical Cancer -- Treatment

Every woman should have a regular pelvic exam and Pap test, which tests a cervical cell sample for abnormalities. Together, these procedures detect cervical cancer 95% of the time, often long before the disease produces symptoms. If your Pap test is abnormal, your doctor may test you again. Recently, some doctors have started to test for HPV at the time of Pap smear. If a high-risk type of HPV is found in women with an abnormal Pap test, doctors are more inclined to do a colposcopy (magnified exam...

Read the Understanding Cervical Cancer -- Treatment article > >

Diagnostic tests

If cervical cancer is suspected, your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam, including a pelvic exam and a Pap test.

Tests to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer include:

Tests to find out the stage and treatment

Tests to find the extent (stage) of cervical cancer include:

  • A chest X-ray to check your lungs.
  • A CT scan, which uses X-rays to look inside the body.
  • An ultrasound, which uses sound waves to check internal tissues and organs.
  • An MRI, which uses magnets to see inside the body.
  • A PET scan to check for cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.
  • A biopsy using fine-needle aspiration.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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