Which physical findings are characteristic of cervical cancer?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Cecelia H Boardman, MD; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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In patients with early-stage cervical cancer, physical examination findings can be relatively normal. As the disease progresses, the cervix may become abnormal in appearance, with gross erosion, ulcer, or mass. These abnormalities can extend to the vagina. Rectal examination may reveal an external mass or gross blood from tumor erosion.

Bimanual pelvic examination findings often reveal pelvic or parametrial metastasis. If the disease involves the liver, hepatomegaly may develop. Pulmonary metastasis usually is difficult to detect on physical examination unless pleural effusion or bronchial obstruction becomes apparent. Leg edema suggests lymphatic or vascular obstruction caused by tumor.

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