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How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

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In brief: Diagnosis of cervical cancer

If you have had an abnormal screening result, or have symptoms of cervical cancer, your doctor will refer you to a gynaecologist.



You may have a number of tests including the following.
• A colposcopy – your doctor uses a lighted magnifying instrument called a colposcope to examine your cervix and take a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) to be sent to a laboratory for testing to see if the abnormal cells have spread.
• A cone biopsy – your doctor will take a cone of your cervix tissue under general anaesthesia, The sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing.
• LLETZ (large-loop excision of the transformation zone) or loop diathermy – your doctor uses a heated loop of wire to remove the abnormal cells which are then sent to a laboratory for testing.
• A CT, MRI, PET or ultrasound scan – to check your health and show how far the cancer has spread (if at all).


If you’re pregnant, it’s safe for you to have a colposcopy. If any pre-cancerous cells are found, treatment is normally arranged for after your baby has been born. If your doctor suspects you have cancer, you may have a cone biopsy, although this can cause a miscarriage and affect future pregnancies. The results will show what stage your cervical cancer is and how far it has spread.

In brief: Diagnosis of cervical cancer

If you have had an abnormal screening result, or have symptoms of cervical cancer, your doctor will refer you to a gynaecologist.



You may have a number of tests including the following.
• A colposcopy – your doctor uses a lighted magnifying instrument called a colposcope to examine your cervix and take a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) to be sent to a laboratory for testing to see if the abnormal cells have spread.
• A cone biopsy – your doctor will take a cone of your cervix tissue under general anaesthesia, The sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing.
• LLETZ (large-loop excision of the transformation zone) or loop diathermy – your doctor uses a heated loop of wire to remove the abnormal cells which are then sent to a laboratory for testing.
• A CT, MRI, PET or ultrasound scan – to check your health and show how far the cancer has spread (if at all).


If you’re pregnant, it’s safe for you to have a colposcopy. If any pre-cancerous cells are found, treatment is normally arranged for after your baby has been born. If your doctor suspects you have cancer, you may have a cone biopsy, although this can cause a miscarriage and affect future pregnancies. The results will show what stage your cervical cancer is and how far it has spread.
Quality HealthCare Team
Quality HealthCare Team
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Dr. Adam Levy
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
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