Dealing with an abnormal Pap test? This can certainly happen for several reasons and fortunately, most of them aren’t cancerous; however, if your OBGYN does suspect cervical cancer, further testing will be performed to test the lining of the cervix. If precancerous cells are discovered this is known as cervical dysplasia. It can be scary hearing this diagnosis if you don’t have all the answers. Here’s what you should know.
How is cervical dysplasia treated?
The best course of action for treating your cervical dysplasia will depend on the severity of your dysplasia. During a biopsy, your gynecologist will be able to analyze the cervical tissue to determine the level of cervical dysplasia. There are three cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) levels, with CIN I being mild, CIN II being moderate and CIN III being severe.
If you’ve been diagnosed with CIN I, it may clear up on its own without even needing treatment; however, you will still need to see your gynecologist about every six months for a Pap smear to detect further changes or to determine if the cells have gone away.
If you’ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe cervical dysplasia, treatment options include cryosurgery to freeze the abnormal cells, a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to burn away the cells, or a more traditional surgical approach that will remove the cervical cells with surgical tools or a laser. Since cervical dysplasia can return, you must be visiting your gynecologist regularly for screenings and checkups.
Is there a way to prevent cervical dysplasia?
One of the best ways for women to protect themselves against cervical dysplasia is to get the HPV vaccine. This vaccine has been approved to protect against several strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. The vaccine is often administered around the age of 11 or 12, but anyone up to age 26 years should consider getting vaccinated. If you are over the age of 26, you should speak with your gynecologist to find out if getting the vaccine is right for you.
Since any woman can develop cervical cancer at any age you must be visiting your OBGYN regularly for routine checkups and screenings. Don’t put off these important annual women’s health checkups.