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Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

Gynecologic cancer specialists at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center understand that an accurate and quick diagnosis of cervical cancer is key to offering the best treatment options in a timely and efficient manner.

Cervical cancer diagnosis

If your Pap test is abnormal, meaning that precancerous cells have been detected or that cancer is suspected, your doctor may recommend additional testing. This may include a colposcopy, in which an instrument is inserted into the vagina to magnify and illuminate the cervix. If necessary, a biopsy will be performed. During a biopsy, a small part of the abnormal area is removed to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist.

If the biopsy is abnormal, meaning that cancer is suspected, your doctor may perform a procedure to remove a small piece of the cervix for further examination. This procedure may be a cold necrotization (also called “cryosurgery”), or a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).

If cancer is confirmed, tests will be performed to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Cervical cancer prognosis

If cervical cancer is diagnosed, prognosis (the predicted course of the cancer) will depend on the following factors:

  • Your age and general health
  • The type and stage of the cancer
  • How much of the cervix is affected
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • Whether you have human papillomavirus (HPV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • If the cancer is new or has come back

If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, we offer the most advanced surgical and nonsurgical treatment options.

Staging Cervical Cancer

Staging cervical cancer can help cancer specialists create a treatment plan designed specifically for you.