Difficulty in diagnosis
Cervical cancer can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages as patients may not experience clear symptoms until the condition has progressed.
If you have any of the following symptoms then you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding between periods
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding from cervical contact eg: insertion of cervical cap or sexual intercourse
Cervical cancer diagnosis
A diagnosis is usually made by an annual PAP test which tests for levels of potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. Should these tests indicate the possibility of a risk of developing cervical cancer additional testing should be carried out.
Additional testing can involve
Similar to a PAP test this tests the strains of HPV present. HPV-16 and HPV-18 are seen more often in women with cervical cancer.
Your doctor may do a Colposcopy to check the cervix for abnormalities. A Colposcopy magnifies the cells of the cervix and vagina similar to a microscope and can also assist during a biopsy.
This is the removal of a small quantity of tissue to be used for examination under a microscope. Only a biospy can make a definite diagnosis of cervical cancer.