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How to Test, Diagnose and Detect Cervical Cancer?

Cervix is the bottom area of the uterus, which is connected to the vagina of a female body. When there is a development of abnormal cancer cells in the cervix of a female, it is called cervical cancer.

Most cervical cancers are caused by a sexually transmitted disease called HPV (Human Papillomavirus). By going for regular cancer screening and taking an appropriate vaccine, it is possible to fight against HPV disease and easily decrease the chance of the development of cervical cancer.

Testing, Diagnosing & Detecting Cervical Cancer

The treatment for cervical cancer is developed after an accurate and thorough cancer diagnosis. Advanced diagnosing tools and tests are used by a cervical cancer expert to evaluate cancer and develop a personalized plan for treatment. Here are the different types of tests that can help to test, diagnose and detect cervical cancer:

Initial Cervical Cancer Tests

The initial tests that are conducted to test for cervical cancer are: 

  • HPV Test

This test helps to identify the presence of HPV infection in the human body and if it has caused any changes in the cells.

  • Pap Test

This test helps to detect pre-cancer, which means changes in the cell of the cervix that can cause cancer. It is also known as a Pap smear. The best oncologist can determine the health of the cervix using this test, which is usually part of regular screening.

Females above the age of 21 are recommended to get a Pap test done regularly. Additionally, the doctor may recommend an HPV test to assess the condition based on the health, age, and risk.

  • Physical Examination

The areas around the pelvic such as the rectum, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and vagina are manually examined by a doctor to look for any bumps or nodules.

  • Colposcopy

Further, the cervix is observed by using a colposcope. Colposcope is a special microscope, which helps to get a bigger and clearer view of the cervix tissue. If any abnormal tissue is detected in the cervix, then it is sent for biopsy for further analysis.

Advanced Testing for Cervical Cancerq

The advanced testing methods include:


There are two kinds of biopsies to diagnose cervical cancer, which are:

  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy –

Most of the cancer cells in the primary tumour spread to sentinel lymph nodes, which is mostly the first lymph nodes to be affected by cancer.

In this kind of biopsy, the sentinel lymph nodes are identified, removed and examined to know if the cancer cells have spread to the other areas from cervix cells. The complication in the surgery is further reduced when 1 or 2 lymph nodes are removed during biopsy.

  • LEEP/Cone Biopsy –

If colposcopy and Pap tests signal cervical cancer, then the doctor will diagnose and confirm through a cone biopsy or LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure). A surgical scalpel is used and the tissue is removed from the cervix in the shape of a cone.

In LEEP, the cervical tissue is removed with the help of an electrified wire loop. Later, the cancer tissue is transferred to the pathologist for an in-depth examination.

Imaging Test/Scan

  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)

If cancer from the cervix has spread to different tissues, rectum or bladder, then it can be found with the help of an MRI scan. This test may be performed with a combination of other scans also to assess the spread of the disease.

  • CT / PET Scan

Doctors can perform CT (Computed Tomography) or PET (Positron Emission Tomography) on the cancer patient to further evaluate cervical cancer. Both CT scans and PET scans are combined into a single machine called the advanced nuclear imaging technique. This technique helps to know the function and structure of the body tissues and cells in just a single session of imaging scan.

CT/PET scan also helps to identify if cancer has spread to nearby organs such as the liver or lungs and nearby areas such as lymph nodes.

  • CT Scan

A 3D picture of the pelvis and abdomen is created by using a CT scan after the physical examination. This method helps to find the accurate location of cancer in the body, which is helpful before surgery. This scan helps to know a lot of information related to the tumour such as if the lymph nodes are affected, where cancer might spread and the size of the tumour.

Advanced Genomic Testing

After all the scans and biopsies, the cancer tissue is deeply examined in the laboratory by pathologists. They look for abnormalities in the cancer cells and their DNA, which helps to know how the DNA is altered and how it is growing.

The mutation in the genome of a cancer cell is identified through advanced genomic testing, which helps in understanding the behaviour of the tumour and devising the most appropriate treatment plan for cancer patients.

If you doubt that you or your loved ones are suffering from cervical cancer, then get in touch with a doctor for initial screening and testing. Based on the result from the initial screening, the patient will be examined further through advanced testing, scanning, examination and analysis.

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