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What tests do doctors use once you've been diagnosed with cervical cancer?

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If your biopsy shows you have cervical cancer, the next step is to see if it has spread, and where. Your doctor might order one or more of these tests:

  • Cystoscopy and proctoscopy. These tests both use a lighted tube to see if the cancer has spread into your bladder and rectum.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. This powerful X-ray can show your doctor if your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, liver, lungs, or other parts of your body.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Your doctor might use an MRI to get very detailed images of inside your body. An MRI can find cancer that has spread to your pelvis, brain, or spinal cord.
  • A chest X-ray will look to see if cancer has spread to your lungs.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Your doctor might order a PET scan if she thinks your cancer has spread but isn’t sure where. It uses a type of radioactive sugar that cancer cells absorb. A special camera can spot the cells that have absorbed the sugar.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "How is cervical cancer diagnosed?" "How is cervical cancer staged?" "HPV and HPV Testing." "Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer."

CDC: "What Should I Know About Screening?"

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Cervical cone biopsy."

MD Anderson Cancer Center: "Cervical Cancer Diagnosis."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Colposcopy."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Pap test."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Cervical Cancer: Screening."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on October 21, 2018

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "How is cervical cancer diagnosed?" "How is cervical cancer staged?" "HPV and HPV Testing." "Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer."

CDC: "What Should I Know About Screening?"

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Cervical cone biopsy."

MD Anderson Cancer Center: "Cervical Cancer Diagnosis."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Colposcopy."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Pap test."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Cervical Cancer: Screening."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on October 21, 2018

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What do different stages of cervical cancer mean?

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