Cervical Cancer - Diagnostic Procedures
Cervical Cancer Diagnosis
Cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women worldwide. The good news is that 92% of the cases can be detected and treated if a woman undergoes regular pelvic exams and Pap tests. Many methods currently exist to detect cervical cancer.
The most common form of diagnosis for detecting cervical cancer in its early stages is a procedure called a Papanicolaou test or Pap smear. This test is painless, normally takes less than 5 minutes to complete and can be performed in a doctor´s office. Women who are 18 or older or who are sexually active are recommended to undergo annual Pap smear tests.
The procedure is performed while a woman is lying on her back on a table. The doctor will insert an instrument called a speculum inside her vagina before removing some cells from the cervix using a cotton swab or small brush. The cells are then sent to a laboratory where they are studied under a microscope to determine if any precancerous or cancerous cells exist. If the tests show any abnormalities, the patient will be asked to return to the doctor so an additional test can be performed. If the test results are negative, women can schedule an annual appointment.
A pelvic examination is also an important method of detecting cervical cancer. The exam is very similar to the Pap smear. A woman lies on her back while a doctor inserts a speculum into her vagina. A doctor will then examine a woman´s vagina and surrounding organs both visually and manually. He will insert gloved fingers and gently feel the cervix and surrounding organs with his fingers, while his other hand presses gently on the patient´s stomach.
Another method used to detect cervical cancer is called colposcopy. This procedure involves the use of a special binocular microscope that is called a colposcope and is very similar to a Pap smear. A woman will lie on her back while a doctor inserts a speculum into her vagina. He will also apply a local anesthetic to her cervix as well as a special solution that will stain any abnormal cells white. The doctor can then view the cells using the high-powered microscope to detect any abnormal cancerous cells.
Conization or Cone Biopsy, Edocervical Curettage, LLETZ/LEEP, and imaging procedures are further techniques which may be applied when diagnosing cervical cancer.
This page was last updated:
April 2, 2007It is not the intention of Cervicalcancer.org to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Cervicalcancer.org urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.