Further tests

A number of imaging tests are available to help in the staging of cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., as well as helping with treatment planning. For example, these tests can be used to assess the size of the tumour, to help determine whether it has spread beyond the cervixAny neck-like structure; most commonly refers to the neck of the uterus., and to assess how well it is responding to treatment. Some examples include:

  • Chest X-rayA type of electromagnetic radiation used to produce images of the body.
  • Intravenous pyelogram
  • Computed tomography (CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images.)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIAn abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging, a technique for imaging the body that uses electromagnetic waves and a strong magnetic field.)
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Positron emission tomography (PET scan).

Chest X-rays can show whether the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. has spread to the lungs. Similarly, X-rays taken of the abdomenThe part of the body that contains the stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder and other organs. after the intravenous injection of a dye, in a test known as an intravenous pyelogramX-ray images of the kidneys taken after the injection of a dye into the veins, so that the urinary tract can be assessed more easily., can help to show if there has been any spread to the kidneys.

Computed tomography (CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images.) imaging takes cross-sectional X-rays of the body at regular intervals of a few millimetres. It is used to assess the size of the cervixAny neck-like structure; most commonly refers to the neck of the uterus., to detect any lymph nodesSmall swellings along the lymphatic system that filter lymph, a fluid derived from the blood, and produce antibodies and a type of white blood cells, lymphocytes. that the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. may have spread to, and to see whether the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. is obstructing the ureters, which carry urine from the kidneys to the bladderThe organ that stores urine.. CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scanning can also show up any spread to the lungs or liverA large abdominal organ that has many important roles including the production of bile and clotting factors, detoxification, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats..

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIAn abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging, a technique for imaging the body that uses electromagnetic waves and a strong magnetic field.) uses magnetic fields rather than X-rays to produce images and is used in a similar fashion to CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images.. Pelvic ultrasound can also be used to assess the size of the cervixAny neck-like structure; most commonly refers to the neck of the uterus. and any spread to lymph nodesSmall swellings along the lymphatic system that filter lymph, a fluid derived from the blood, and produce antibodies and a type of white blood cells, lymphocytes..

Finally, positron emission tomography (PET) is a newer imaging technique that can also be useful. This type of imaging gives information about the metabolic activity of the tumour rather than its anatomical appearance, and can be useful in planning treatment and monitoring the response to therapy.