Cervical Cancer Diagnosis
Cervical cancer is often asymptomatic
at early stage; it can take years before emerging symptoms. If you experience symptoms related to cervical, it
is important to see your doctor without delay; the cancer can be already advanced. The earlier the cancer is
detected, the more chance you have of being recovered or cured.
During the visit, your
doctor will do a physical examination to visualize and touch your genitals. The vaginal examination can allow
him not only to detect the tumor but also evaluate its extension beyond the cervix. During the exam, you
physician may also examine your bladder and rectum.
In addition, a speculum
examination may be performed. During this exam, your gynecologist will use a medical tool called vaginal
speculum to explore the uterine cavity. This procedure can enable him to detect lesions and/or other
abnormalities in the cervix.
However, these procedures
are not enough to confirm a cervical cancer; other tests such as Pap tests, colposcopy and biopsy will be
performed to accurately confirm the diagnosis.
Pap test - also known as cervical smear, the Pap test is a simple
medical examination performed to collect cells from the surface of the cervix to be examined under a microscope.
It allows your physician to detect signs of cancerous or precancerous transformation. Pap test is an important
tool in screening for cervical cancer, but it requires a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
a colposcopy is a short visual exam of the cervix and vagina that lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. During the
exam, your health care provider uses a magnifying optical device called colposcope to look into your uterus
searching for inflammatory lesions or precancerous or cancerous signs. If abnormalities are detected in your
cervix, samples will be taken to be examined under microscope. A colposcopy allows your doctor to confirm or
deny the existence of a cervical tumor. In general, your gynecologist will recommend this test
- you have
- you have
a vaginal bleeding, including after sex
- you have
had vaginal surgery
- you have
a history of genital warts
the gynecological examination presence of cancerous or precancerous lesions are detected or
Biopsy – this is a medical technique used to collect cells from
your cervix to be examined microscopically. Biopsy is the most important procedure to establish with certainty
the diagnosis of a cervical cancer. There are many types of biopsies that your doctor can perform.
- Colposcopic biopsy - as its name suggests, this biopsy is performed
during a colposcopy. Your physician take small sample in the tissue suspected of being cancerous.
Colposcopic biopsy is often performed under local anesthesia.
Curettage - your
doctor will recommend an endocervical curettage if the lesion is not seen in its entirety during the
colposcopy. During the exam, your health care provider inserts a small, sharp, scoop-shaped instrument
curette) in the passageway
to the uterus. It gently scrapes the wall of the cervix to collect cells or tissue sample. A local
anesthesia may be used to anesthetize the
biopsy or conization – this
biopsy consist of taking a cone-shaped wedge of tissue sample from
cervix by using a thin wire heated by electric current. During the procedure, your doctor will use a
colposcope to be able to use the instrument with precision. Unlike the two other forms of biopsy, cone
biopsy requires general anesthesia.
Cervical Cancer Stages