What tests are performed to screen for cervical cancer?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Cecelia H Boardman, MD; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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Guideline Contributor: Jori S Carter, MD, MS Assistant Professor, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine


Cervical cancer screening has traditionally used the Pap smear (conventional or liquid-based cytology). More recently, cytology has been supplemented by human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. Samples for these tests may be taken during a pelvic examination, along with visual inspection of the cervix, but the pelvic examination itself is not part of the screening process for cervical cancer. [52]

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