Cervical Cancer and Cervical Dysplasia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications

There are some HPV strains which may cause the development of abnormal cells. When this happens, it is called dysplasia. A common area for dysplasia is the cervix. There are fewer common places where dysplasia can happen such as the vulva, anus, and vagina. This is not a type of cancer, but if it is not treated, it can develop into cancer. It is because of this that dysplasia cells are often called pre-cancerous cells.

Screening for cancer and dysplasia is vital to find and treat any pre-cancerous change and to prevent cervical cancer. Often times the Pap Smear or Test, will be done. This test will take a small brush and collect cells to look for changes. Now, there are more effective and common liquid-based systems that are able to screen the samples which are better for finding abnormal cells.

Because the Pap Smear will need a lab, and people who can read the tests, there are resource limited areas that have different tests that can screen for cancer and dysplasia. VIA which is a visual exam using vinegar can be used. The vinegar is placed on areas of your cervix and looked at to see if any areas react. Those areas would need treatment. Some areas will collect samples of your cervix and look for the DNA of any HPV strains.

Cervical cancer can take a long time to be developed fully, but there are no symptoms until the cancer is in an advanced stage. It is because of this that you should have cervical screenings regularly. Screening is able to catch any potential problems before it ends up being worse. It is really important for women who have HIV to get cervical screenings each year. This is due to HIV positive women are highly likely to have abnormal screenings.

Any form of cervical cancer is dangerous. This is one of the conditions that is considered AIDS defined that happens to women only. Luckily, cervical cancer is able to be prevented especially with an early diagnosis followed with treatment.

Mark Riegel, MD

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