Ask the Nurse

My sister just had a pap smear and the results showed cervical dysplasia. What exactly is this and could she be at risk for cancer?

Cervical dysplasia describes the presence of abnormal cells in the canal of, or on the surface of the cervix. The term "plasia" means growth, and dysplasia means "disordered growth."

Cervical dysplasia is a pre-cancerous condition that is linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV). It often leads to changes in the cells of the cervix. If untreated, dysplasia can progress to cervical cancer. However, just because a woman has HPV or cervical dysplasia does not necessarily mean she will get cervical cancer. Risk factors that can affect the development of cervical dysplasia include cigarette smoking and having multiple sexual partners.

There are no symptoms of cervical dysplasia; therefore, regular screening and early diagnosis are important. A Pap test is one of two procedures performed to monitor the cells and appearance of the cervix. The other option is a colcoscopy, which can detect almost all pre-cancerous changes and cervical cancer. An HPV infection can be short-lived if caught before a women turns 30. And even cervical cancer almost always can be treated successfully when it is diagnosed early.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

August 29, 2011 at 11:37am