Thursday 20 September 2012
While the pap smear is an effective screening test, confirmation of the diagnosis of cervical cancer or pre-cancer requires a biopsy of the cervix.
This is often done through colposcopy, a magnified visual inspection of the cervix aided by using a dilute acetic acid (e.g. vinegar) solution to highlight abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix.
Medical devices used for biopsy of the cervix include punch forceps or SpiraBrush CX.
Colposcopic impression, the estimate of disease severity based on the visual inspection, forms part of the diagnosis.
Further diagnostic and treatment procedures are loop electrical excision procedure (LEEP) and conization, in which the inner lining of the cervix is removed to be examined pathologically. These are carried out if the biopsy confirms severe cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.