Cervical Cancer Diagnosis
How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
If cervical cancer is suspected, your doctor will likely perform a thorough examination of the cervix and use a variety of diagnostic tests, including:
- Colposcopy - a special magnifying instrument that is used to look for abnormal cells.
- Cervical biopsy - small samples of tissue are pinched from the cervix for closer examination.
- Endocervical curettage - a spoon shaped instrument is used to scrape a tissue sample from the lining of the cervix for closer examination.
- LEEP - a thin, low-voltage electrified loop is used to get a small tissue sample. This procedure is generally performed under local anesthesia at a doctor’s office.
- Cone biopsy (conization) - a procedure where deeper layers of cervical cells are gathered for laboratory testing. This procedure may be performed in a hospital under general anesthesia.
- X-ray - this is used to determine if the cancer has spread.
- CT scan - used to obtain detailed images to identify the severity of the cancer.
- MRI - a scan used to identify the extent of the spread.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never easy, but we are here to support you and help you navigate this experience.
When attending your medical appointments, it is a good idea to be prepared with a list of questions and take notes, or have someone with you who can help with questions and notetaking. Emotions are likely running high, so it may be hard to retain all of the information that is provided by your doctor. You should also bring a list of medications, any biopsies you’ve had, and your medical information/history.
Throughout your diagnosis and treatment, it is a good idea to consider seeking a second opinion.