Accuracy of pelvic examination in the assessment of patients with operable cervical cancer

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Apr;190(4):986-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.01.019.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether pelvic examination identifies factors that suggest the need for radiotherapy after radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer.

Study design: This was an observational study that was conducted from July 1, 2000 through December 31, 2002 that comprised 67 patients with stage 1B-2A cervical cancer who underwent primary surgical treatment. Assessments that were made on pelvic examination were compared with pathologic findings. Data were analyzed with the use of descriptive statistics, calculation of sensitivities, specificities, positive and negative predictive values, and determination of odds ratios.

Results: The overall spectrum of small to large tumors (<1-8 cm) and cervices (2.5-8 cm) correlated well with examination (r=0.77-0.88). The accuracy of examination was approximately 50% for tumor diameter (+/-25%), 85% for cervical diameter (+/-25%), 80% for outer-third invasion, 80% for endophytic growth, and 90% for vaginal involvement. The likelihood for adjuvant radiotherapy had a significant association with the number of at-risk examination variables that were present.

Conclusion: For women who undergo radical hysterectomy for stage 1B to 2A cervical cancer, the presence of multiple high-risk factors that are found on pelvic examination is associated significantly with indications for adjuvant postoperative radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Palpation / standards
  • Physical Examination / standards*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery