Cervical Cancer Diagnosis - What is a pap smear and how is cervical cancer diagnosed | National Cancer Centre Singapore
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Cervical Cancer - Diagnosis

Tests and procedures used to diagnose cervical cancer include: 

Screening: 
  • Cervical cancer screening (Pap smear test or HPV test) 
    • Cervical cancer screening tests (Pap smear test or HPV test) help to detect pre-cancer changes. During this examination, a scraping of cells from the surface of the cervix is obtained during a vaginal examination. This is a quick, simple, and painless test. 
    • In general, women with pre-cancer changes do not have any symptoms. If any abnormalities are detected, further investigations such as colposcopy need to be performed. 
Diagnosis: 
  • Colposcopy 
    • A colposcopy is a simple outpatient procedure done using a colposcope (microscope) to check for any abnormal changes of the cervix. A biopsy (a small amount of tissue) may be taken and sent to the laboratory for further evaluation. 



  • Cone biopsy (conisation) or Loop electrosurgical excision surgery (LEEP) 
    • Your doctor may recommend a cone biopsy or a LEEP procedure if there is suspicion of microscopic invasion. Your doctor will discuss with you regarding the suitability of these procedures with you. 
Investigations: 
Once cervical cancer is confirmed, further tests may be done to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer and most suitable treatment. The tests may include: 
  • Computed Tomography (CT scan) 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan) 
  • An examination under general anaesthesia may be recommended if additional information is required that may affect your treatment.

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