A pelvic exam and two screening tests – the Pap test and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test – are used to detect cervical cancer. Your health care provider uses an instrument called a speculum to examine you and take samples for the screening tests.
- Pelvic exam. Your provider checks your vagina, uterus, bladder and rectum for any lumps or changes in their shape or size.
- Pap test. Your provider collects cells from your cervix and the surrounding area. These are sent to a medical lab to be screened for abnormal cells. Find out more, including how and why the Pap test is done, how to prepare, and what it feels like.
- HPV test. Your provider collects cells from your cervix and the surrounding area and sends them to a medical lab for testing. The lab looks for the various types of HPV that cause cancer. Find out more, including how and why the HPV test is done, how to prepare, and what it feels like.
Our approach to abnormal screening test results
At UCSF, we offer the full range of screening and treatment options for cervical dysplasia, including colposcopy, loop excision (LEEP), laser ablation, cryotherapy and watchful waiting in certain situations. We believe that empowering patients with knowledge is an important part of the healing process, and we encourage all our patients to participate in choosing the option that best aligns with their preferences and values.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.