Stage 1a Do I need MRI/CT scan

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Hi I was diagnosed with stage 1ab cervical cancer at start of December 2023. 

I am due to see my consultant tomorrow to agree date for hysterectomy. My question is, should I be asking for MRI/CT scan? 

A lot of people on here saying that they had scans done to check rest of the body. 

Any advice welcome. I'm totally anxious about this whole process! 

Thanks in advance 


  • Sorry, typo error. 

    Diagnosed with stage 1a1 

  • Hi    and welcome to our group.

    It’s scary to have any cancer diagnosis, and I know you won’t feel “lucky” in any way, but your cancer at stage 1a1 would be very tiny and therefore only able to be seen under a microscope. At this stage, it hasn’t spread anywhere, which is why you will be able to have a hysterectomy, which isn’t always possible especially at higher stages.

    I understand you would feel anxious about needing to have scans, but scans can only pick up tumours of a certain size, so scans might not be necessary for you. When I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer, I assumed that scans could pick up everything, but I soon learned that’s not actually the case! For example, my scans were done because the consultant could see himself with an examination that I had a fairly sizeable tumour, and it was around 3.8 cms. Yours would be measured in millimetres at your stage.

    The consultant would of course advise you, but for larger masses which can be picked up on a scan, the mri is of the pelvic area, and maybe chest and thorax to check the size and exact location of the tumour, and the Ct will be looking at whether it has spread outside the pelvis but again is scanning the pelvis and upper part of your body. Scans are not typically done of the whole body, unless you have a petscan.

    When you have a Ct scan or petscan you are exposed to radiation, so they will only be done if necessary so as not to give you a risk of radiation exposure if you don’t need to have it. If your consultant feels it might be more than stage 1a, then he/she might recommend a scan, but this would be his/her judgement of your particular situation. You don’t need to ask for it-it will be the consultant’s decision, but you can ask the question for him/her to explain the reading behind the decision. There would be no value in a scan if it couldn’t pick anything up. 

    I hope you get an appointment soon for your surgery and that your appointment goes well tomorrow. Please let us know how you get on.

    Sarah xx

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi Sarah 

    Thank you for your reply. 

    Yes that makes sense that a scan would only pick up larger tumors. But like you have suggested i will mention it to my consultant tomorrow and just get him to clarify what you've explained.

    Yes hopefully I will get date for my hysterectomy tomorrow Pray 

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my query

    Caroline x 

  • Hi Caroline

    Yes, definitely get him to clarify everything for you, so that you are quite clear on what is and isn’t required. He should also explain the type of hysterectomy you are having as there are several different types, removing different “parts” and the method- would it be laparoscopic (keyole surgery), robotic assisted etc. 

    It’s important that you have all the facts from a medical professional so you are comfortable about what is proposed. I’ve had 2 open abdominal surgeries for cervical cancer and a completely separate keyhole surgery for a non cancer issue, with many various types of scans along the way, but can only speak of my own experiences and how things were explained to me by my consultants as I went through everything,

    Sarah xx

    Community Champion Badge

    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi Charley , I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer December 2022 . They couldn’t operate , I had MRI scan and Pet scan to stage me . I then had 5 weeks radiotherapy and chemotherapy and 3 days brachytherapy and am now in remission . I also had an ovarian cyst so two weeks ago I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed and am awaiting results on the cyst but am hopeful . If you have been staved they will know what they need to do to help you . Not sure about the scan but if you are worried please speak to your consultant who will advise you I’m sure - good luck with the operation x 

  • Hi Debbie 

    Delighted to hear you are now in remission! 

    I am understanding the process a little bit more from you and Sarah's replies. 

    Because I'm stage 1  I suppose I am very lucky that has the option of a hysterectomy! 

    Hopefully your results on the cyst removed from your ovaries is benign Pray 

    Wishing you all the very best and thank you for taking the time to reply to me

    Charley x 

  • Thank you so much Sarah Heartbeat Really appreciate all your advice.

    Yes I will write down all questions I want to ask the consultant 

    Take care 

    Charley x 

  • You are welcome Charley . Sending you lots of strength and best wishes . Will be thinking of you