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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Cancer of the Cervix: Diagnosis & Tests
      Category : Health Centers > Cancers and Tumors

Cancer of the Cervix

Alternate Names : Cervical Cancer, Cervical Tumor, Cervical Carcinoma

Cancer of the Cervix | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

How is the disease diagnosed?

Diagnosis of cancer of the cervix is done with a pelvic examination that includes a Pap smear. During a pelvic exam, the cervix, vagina, and vulva are checked for signs of changes. To do a Pap smear, a provider uses a small spatula and a brush to gently scrape cells from the cervix. These cells are sent to a lab for testing.

If abnormalities are found, the Pap smear may be repeated in 3 months. Alternately, the healthcare provider may do the following additional tests:

  • colposcopy, a procedure in which a special microscope allows the provider to closely examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva
  • cervical biopsy, a procedure in which small tissue samples are taken from the cervix. This procedure is generally done in a healthcare provider's office.
  • cold cone biopsy, a procedure in which a large tissue sample is taken from the cervix. This procedure is normally done in an operating room under general anesthesia. The cone biopsy often removes all of the cancerous tissue.
  • Tissue that is removed for a cervical biopsy is examined under a microscope and used to determine the stage of the cancer. Following are the stages of cervical cancer:

  • stage 1, in which the tumor is in the uterus and cervix only
  • stage 2, in which the tumor has spread to the vagina
  • stage 3, in which the tumor has invaded the side wall of the pelvis
  • stage 4, in which the tumor has spread to the rectum, bladder, and distant organs

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    Cancer of the Cervix: Symptoms & Signs


    Cancer of the Cervix: Prevention & Expectations

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/16/01

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