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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 -- Prevention

Since infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer and precancers, it is important to avoid genital HPV infection. This may mean delaying sex, limiting the number of sex partners, and avoiding a sex partner who has had several other partners. Condoms are important to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, but they can't give full protection against HPV since there may be skin-to-skin contact of exposed areas which can transmit the virus...

Read the Understanding Cervical Cancer -- Prevention 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: October 22, 2012
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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