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.
Tests to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer include:
- A colposcopy and cervical biopsy. This test can find out whether and where cancer cells are on the surface of the cervix.
- An endocervical biopsy (or curettage). This test is to find out whether cancer cells are in the cervical canal.
- A cone biopsy or loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). These tests are sometimes recommended to remove cervical tissue for examination under a microscope.
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.