Dr. Magtibay discusses how a woman can ensure cervical cancer is detected early and describes how a pelvic exam is performed at Mayo Clinic.
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Pelvic Exam to Detect Cervical Cancer Most important thing that a woman could do to have early detection of cervical cancer if she is going to get the disease is to go in for her routine annual gynecologic examination, which would include a Pap smear as recommended. Here at the Mayo Clinic, when we are doing a pelvic examination it will include the abdominal exam, for one thing. We feel the abdominal organs, feel for any masses. We also feel the inguinal area or the groin area to see if there are any abnormal lymph nodes noted in that region. Then between the patient’s legs we closely examine the vulva or the skin including the lips and that area around the vagina and the area around the anus because vulvar cancer can occur as well. We then take a speculum, the metal device that goes into the vagina, and we open up that speculum and we look in the vagina and all around the vagina to make sure that there are no abnormalities of the vagina itself, and in the process we also assess a woman’s pelvic support meaning, does she have a dropping water; does she have the rectum that’s protruding into the vagina, or is the uterus dropping? And then we visually inspect the cervix if a woman has not had a hysterectomy and perform the Pap smear, the test to try to detect early cervical cancer. And then finally, we do what is called a bi-manual examination where the physician will put fingers in the vagina and finger in the rectum and feel the size of the uterus, the mobility of the uterus, whether or not the uterus is fixed or firm, and then we try to feel the ovaries and the tubes to see if there are any masses in these regions. And the rectal exam helps confirm that and rule out any masses in the rectum itself.