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Does Cervical Dysplasia Lead to Cancer?

January 17, 2018

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Cervical dysplasia is a relatively common condition that occurs when the cells on the surface of the cervix undergo abnormal changes. Usually, this precancerous condition is identified by a physician when reviewing the results of a Pap smear. While cervical dysplasia should always be evaluated and treated if necessary, it’s important to understand that in most cases it does not lead to cervical cancer. What’s more, mild cases often resolve on their own.

Causes of cervical dysplasia

Many women who receive an abnormal Pap test result are very healthy. In some cases, though, cervical dysplasia is associated with:

  • A human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • A yeast infection
  • A bacterial infection
  • Age-related cellular changes that occur after menopause

Follow up for an abnormal Pap test result

After diagnosing cervical dysplasia, a physician will typically recommend a pelvic examination with a colposcopy and cervical biopsy. During this in-office procedure, the physician can closely examine the cervix using a special instrument (colposcope) and obtain tissue samples for evaluation under a microscope. If the physician diagnoses high-grade cervical dysplasia (cellular abnormalities that require treatment), he or she may recommend a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove the affected cells before they are able to progress into cancer. When performing this procedure, the physician can remove abnormal cells from the cervix using a wire loop heated by an electrical current.

For low-grade cervical dysplasia, a physician can recommend an appropriate follow-up schedule, which may involve regular Pap tests. Additionally, the physician may suggest an HPV test or provide treatment for an associated yeast or bacterial infection, if necessary.

If you’ve received an abnormal Pap test result or are experiencing cervical cancer symptoms, you are welcome to consult with the multispecialty team in the gynecologic clinic at Moffitt Cancer Center, and you can do so with or without a referral. We use the latest diagnostic techniques and offer a wide range of advanced treatment options for cervical cancer, helping our patients to achieve the best possible outcomes and quality of life.

You can request an appointment at Moffitt by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our new patient registration form online.