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Screening for Cervical Cancer

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Screening for Cervical Cancer

The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are given to people without symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Tests

Screening tests to help detect cervical cancer include:

  • Pap test—A sample of cells in and around the cervix are taken and tested. The samples are checked for abnormal growth or cancer.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) test—The same sample of cells can be used to detect HPV infection.
  • Pelvic exam—The vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are checked. This is done by hand.


  • Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cervical-cancer . Accessed April 20, 2021.
  • Cervical cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/cervical-cancer-screening. Accessed April 20, 2021.
  • Cervical cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/patient/cervical-screening-pdq. Accessed April 20, 2021.
  • Guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html. Accessed April 20, 2021.
  • Hu Z, Ma D. The precision prevention and therapy of HPV-related cervical cancer: new concepts and clinical implications. Cancer Med. 2018 Oct;7(10):5217-5236.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.