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Dr. Campbell examining patient
exam results under a microscope.
What is cervical dysplasia?
Cervical dysplasia is the presence of precancerous cells on the cervix. A sexually transmitted infection with a common virus, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes it.
Cervical dysplasia can lead to cervical cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer death in women. In the U.S., cervical cancer remains the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer.
Learn more about the HPV vaccine, a protection against HPV.
What are the symptoms of cervical dysplasia?
There are usually no symptoms of cervical dysplasia.
How is cervical dysplasia diagnosed?
The results of a Pap smear can diagnose cervical dysplasia.
What are the treatment options for cervical dysplasia?
Mild dysplasia is often followed conservatively with no treatment. In many cases, the dysplasia will regress completely and the patient will clear the HPV virus. More severe lesions, known as high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HGSIL), are often treated.
There are several treatment options for woman with cervical dysplasia. All target removal of the precancerous cells.
- Laser – the laser can burn away the precancerous cells
- LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) – this procedure uses cauterization (burning) to remove the precancerous cells
- Cone biopsies – surgery removes the abnormal tissue
- Cryotherapy – uses freezing to remove the precancerous cells
What is the follow-up for cervical dysplasia?
Women with cervical dysplasia need to have a Pap smear more frequently to make sure the precancerous cells do not return. Every patient may have a slightly different follow-up: typically, every three months for one year and every six months after the first year. If they continue to return, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus and cervix.