Diagnosis & staging
These are tests that may be used to diagnose this type of cancer.
- Pap test
- Colposcopy is used to confirm the diagnosis from the Pap test
- The vagina and cervix are examined with a magnifying instrument called a colposcope
- The magnification allows for more accurate identification of the type and extent of the abnormal cells
Colposcopy clinics are located throughout the province
- Biopsy: removing the suspicious area (lesion, or tissue) so the cells can be examined with a microscope or other tests.
- Other tests may be recommended by your doctor, possibly including:
- Blood tests at a lab
- Chest X-ray or CT scans
- Cystoscopy: viewing the bladder through a scope.
- Sigmoidoscopy: viewing the lower intestine and rectum through a scope.
For more information on tests used to diagnose cancer, see our Recommended Websites, Diagnostic Tests
Types and stages
- Squamous cell cervical cancer account for about 75 percent of all cervical cancers
- Adenocarcinoma cervical cancer
- Other rare types (mixed adenosquamous carcinomas, small cell carcinomas)
Staging describes the extent of a cancer. The TNM classification system is used as the standard around the world. In general a lower number in each category means a better prognosis. The stage of the cancer is used to plan the treatment.
T describes the site and size of the main tumour (primary);
N describes involvement of lymph nodes;
M relates to whether the cancer has spread (presence or absence of distant metastases).
Stage 0 Pre-cancer, or cancer limited to the surface tissue of the cervix. Sometimes called CIN, Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia.
Stage I Cancer limited to the cervix, growing into the underlying tissue, divided into sub-stages by size and / or spread within the cervix area.
Stage II The cancer extends beyond the cervix, into the upper vagina, but not into the pelvic wall.
Stage III The cancer is in the pelvic wall and/or the lower third of the vagina.
Stage IV The cancer extends beyond the pelvis into the bladder and rectum, or has moved into a distant site.