STEP 3: Diagnosis, staging and treatment planning

Diagnosis: After a medical history and examination, consider the following sequence of investigations:

  • gynaecological examination
  • colposcopic assessment
  • cervical biopsy for confirmation of diagnosis
  • cone biopsy (conisation)/type 3 excision
  • complete blood count
  • liver and renal function tests
  • pelvic ultrasound.

For obvious abnormalities, a colposcopy should be undertaken within two weeks of referral. Investigations should be completed within two weeks of specialist review.

Staging: Staging for cervical cancer is clinical but aided by chest x-ray, CT/MRI/PET as appropriate.

Treatment planning: Newly diagnosed women should be discussed in a multidisciplinary team meeting.

Issues regarding fertility, early menopause and changes to sexual function should be addressed.

Research and clinical trials: Consider enrolment where available and appropriate.


The lead clinician’s (1) responsibilities include:

  • discuss a timeframe for diagnosis and treatment with the woman/carer
  • explain the role of the multidisciplinary team
  • provide appropriate information or refer to support services as required.

1: Lead clinician – the clinician who is responsible for managing patient care.

The lead clinician may change over time depending on the stage of the care pathway and where care is being provided.