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Diseases » Cervical Cancer » Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer

Diagnostic Test list for Cervical Cancer:

The list of medical tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Cervical Cancer includes:

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Cervical Cancer:

HPV: DSTD (Excerpt)

A Pap smear can detect pre-cancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix. Frequent Pap smears and careful medical followup, with treatment if necessary, can help ensure that pre-cancerous cells in the cervix caused by HPV infection do not develop into life-threatening cervical cancer. The Pap test used in U.S. cervical cancer screening programs is responsible for greatly reducing deaths from cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society estimated that about 12,800 women in the United States were diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2000. In 2001, approximately 4,600 women will die from cervical cancer. (Source: excerpt from HPV: DSTD)

Cervical Cancer: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Results from five to 10% of Pap smears performed each year on women in the United States are reported as abnormal. Abnormal cell types include:

  • ASCUS-atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. Squamous cells are the thin flat cells that form the surface of the cervix.

  • LSIL-low-grade (early changes in the size, shape, and number of cells) squamous intraepithelial lesion. The word lesion refers to an area of abnormal tissue; intraepithelial means that the abnormal cells are present only in the surface layer of cells.

  • HSIL-high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. High-grade means that there are a large number of precancerous cells that look very different from normal cells.

ASCUS and LSIL are considered mild abnormalities. HSIL is more severe and has a higher likelihood of progressing to invasive cancer.

If the Pap test abnormality is unclear or minor, the doctor may repeat the test to ensure accuracy. If the Pap test shows a significant abnormality, the doctor may then perform a test called a colposcopy. For this test, the doctor uses a magnifying instrument to view the tissue surrounding the vagina and cervix to check for any abnormalities. A Schiller test may also be performed. For this test, the doctor coats the cervix with an iodine solution. Healthy cells turn brown and abnormal cells turn white or yellow. Both of these procedures can be done in the doctor's office. Finally, the doctor may also remove a small amount of cervical tissue for examination. This procedure is called a biopsy and is the only sure way to know whether the abnormal cells indicate cancer. (Source: excerpt from Cervical Cancer: NWHIC)

Cervical Cancer: NWHIC (Excerpt)

All doctors agree that women who show HSIL cells on their Pap tests should receive a colposcopy and, if necessary, a biopsy. However, there is no agreement among doctors about how to manage women who show ASCUS or LSIL cells. Most doctors either perform immediate colposcopy and, if necessary, biopsy, as for women with high grade lesions. Since low-grade cell changes in many women tend to go back to normal on their own, other doctors choose to wait and repeat the Pap smear every four to six months, then perform colposcopy if the abnormality is still present.

The National Cancer Institute is conducting a study called the ASCUS/LSIL Triage Study to help doctors determine how to best manage these two abnormal cell types in women. So far, results show that it is helpful for women with ASCUS cells to also be tested for HPV to see if their abnormalities need immediate attention. The study found that many women with ASCUS cells who tested positive for HPV had precancer, or rarely, cancer. A negative HPV test provided strong reassurance that precancer or cancer was not present. (Source: excerpt from Cervical Cancer: NWHIC)

What You Need To Know About Cancer -- An Overview: NCI (Excerpt)

Doctors use the Pap test , or Pap smear, to screen for cancer of the cervix. For this test, cells are collected from the cervix. The cells are examined under a microscope to detect cancer or changes that may lead to cancer. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Cancer -- An Overview: NCI)

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer: medical news summaries:

The following medical news items are relevant to diagnosis and misdiagnosis issues for Cervical Cancer:


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