What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of cervical cancer?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Cecelia H Boardman, MD; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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A routine chest radiograph is obtained to help rule out pulmonary metastasis. Chest radiography may be considered optional for disease that is stage IB1 or lower. [8]

A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis is performed to look for metastasis in the liver, lymph nodes, or other organs (see the image below) and to help rule out hydronephrosis or hydroureter. MRI or positron-emission tomography (PET) scanning is an alternative to CT scanning; in fact, PET scanning is now recommended for patients with stage IB2 disease or higher. [8]

CT scan of cervical cell carcinoma demonstrates ma CT scan of cervical cell carcinoma demonstrates markedly enlarged lymph node at left pelvic sidewall. This is consistent with pelvic lymph node metastasis, which is indicative of stage IIIB disease. Cystic consistency is not unusual for metastatic cervical carcinoma. Primary tumor is well depicted as hypoattenuating circumscribed mass. Cyst is present in anteriorly located left ovary.

Magnetic resonance whole-body diffusion-weighted imaging scanning has been used to distinguish uterine cervical carcinoma from normal uterine cervix. This technique can also differentiate metastatic nodes from benign nodes. [61] (See also Cervical Cancer Imaging.)


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