Many cervical cancers are discovered before they can be seen or felt. If a patient is experiencing symptoms of cervical cancer, her physicians might conduct a:
- Colposcope exam: A procedure that uses a special microscope (the colposcope). The doctor will examine the cervix for abnormal cells.
- Biopsy: A procedure your doctor performs to remove a sample of unusual cells from your cervix using special tools. During one type of biopsy — punch biopsy — the doctor uses a circular knife to remove a small circular section of the cervix.
- Cone biopsy or Conization: A biopsy that involves taking a cone-shaped sample of the cervix — allowing the doctor to obtain deeper layers of cervical cells for laboratory testing.
Cervical Cancer Stages
When cervical cancer is diagnosed, your WellStar physician will categorize it by its current stage. Each stage describes how large the tumor is and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. You should talk to your WellStar physician to understand each stage, and what it means for your treatment plan.