Pap test: A sample of cells is taken from a woman's cervix and examined for signs of changes. Pap tests may detect cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer.
Cervical biopsy: A health care provider takes a sample of tissue, or biopsy, from the cervix to check for cervical cancer or other conditions. Cervical biopsy is often done during colposcopy.
Colposcopy: A follow-up test for an abnormal Pap test. A gynecologist views the cervix with a magnifying glass, known as a colposcope, and may take a biopsy of any areas that do not look healthy.
Cone biopsy: A cervical biopsy in which a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix and examined under a microscope. Cone biopsy is performed after an abnormal Pap test, both to identify and to remove dangerous cells in the cervix.
Computed tomography (CT scan): A CT scanner takes multiple X-rays, and a computer creates detailed images of the cervix and other structures in the abdomen and pelvis. CT scanning is often used to determine whether cervical cancer has spread, and if so, how far.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan): An MRI scanner uses a high-powered magnet and a computer to create high-resolution images of the cervix and other structures in the abdomen and pelvis. Like CT scans, MRI scans can be used to look for the spread of cervical cancer.
Positron emission tomography (PET scan): A test to look for spread or recurrence of cervical cancer. A solution, known as a tracer solution, containing a mildly radioactive chemical is injected into the veins. The PET scan takes pictures as this solution moves through the body. Any areas of cancer take up the tracer and "light up" on scanner images.
HPV DNA test: Cervical cells can be tested for the presence of DNA from human papillomavirus (HPV). This test can identify whether the types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer are present.