If you have any cervical cancer symptoms, they need to be checked by your doctor.

How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

If you have any cervical cancer symptoms, get checked by your doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor may suggest several tests and scans to check for cysts, tumours or other changes.

If your cervical smear test results show you have abnormal cells, you will be referred to a specialist for further tests.

These tests may include:

Your cervix is looked at closely using a colposcope, like a microscope, from outside the body through a speculum to check for signs of disease. 

A biopsy takes a small sample of the abnormal cells to check if they're cancerous.

An MRI uses magnets and radio waves to make a detailed picture of the inside of your body.

CT scan
A CT scan creates a 3D picture of the inside of your body. It can show smaller cancers than an x-ray and enlarged lymph nodes.

PET-CT scan
A PET-CT scan uses a radioactive dye injected into your arm that will show up in areas affected by cancer. You may have to travel for this scan.

After a diagnosis

If your test results show cancer, this can be a difficult time, and feelings can change from one moment to the next. 

Everyone reacts differently when they learn they have cancer. There is no right or wrong way to feel. 

Talk about your treatment options with your doctor, family and friends. Ask for as much information as you need. It is up to you how involved you want to be in decisions about your treatment. 

Stages of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer staging describes the cancer's size and if it has spread to other parts of your body.

If your test results show cervical cancer, the cancer will be given a stage between 1 and 4.

Staging helps your cancer treatment team recommend the best treatment for you.

Stage Definition
Stage 1 The cancer is found only in the tissues of the cervix.
Stage 2 The cancer has spread into the tissues next to the cervix and in the vagina.
Stage 3 The cancer has spread into the pelvic area
Stage 4

The cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area to nearby organs, such as the bladder.
The tumour may also spread to the lung, liver or bones, although this is uncommon.

Prognosis for cervical cancer

The prognosis is the likely outcome of a disease. 

If the test results show cervical cancer, you may wish to speak with your treatment team about the prognosis.

The doctors will look at the type and stage of the cancer as well as your age and general health to give a prognosis, but no doctor can predict the exact outcome for you. 

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Last updated: December 22, 2022