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Alternative namesCervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN); Precancerous changes of the cervix
DefinitionCervical dysplasia is the abnormal growth of the epithelial tissue on the surface of the cervix . It refers to a spectrum or continuum of changes specified as: CIN I -- mild dysplasia; CIN II -- moderate to marked dysplasia; and CIN III -- severe dysplasia to carcinoma-in-situ ( cancer localized to the intraepithelial tissue/superficial layer of the cervix).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
While the cause is unknown, a number of predisposing factors have been identified. Less than 5% of all Pap smear tests conducted note cervical dysplasia. It may occur in women aged 15 and older, with the peak incidence in women aged 25 to 35.
Increased risk is associated with: multiple sexual partners, early onset of sexual activity (at less than age 18), early childbearing (at less than age 16), and past medical history of DES exposure or sexually transmitted diseases, especially HPV ( genital warts ), genital herpes , or HIV infection .
There are usually no symptoms.
Signs and tests
A pelvic examination is usually normal.
The treatment of cervical dysplasia depends on the degree of dysplasia. Treatments range from careful observation with repeat Pap smears every 3 to 6 months for mild dysplasia (which may regress on its own), to methods used to eradicate the abnormal tissue, including: electrocauterization , cryosurgery , laser vaporization, or surgical removal.
Consistent follow-up, every 3 to 6 months or as prescribed, is essential.
With early identification, adequate evaluation; treatment; and careful, consistent, follow-up; nearly all cervical dysplasia can be cured. Without treatment, 30% to 50% cases of cervical dysplasia may progress to invasive cancer .
Recurrence may present upon subsequent Pap smear .
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you are a woman who is sexually active, or are aged 20 or older, and have had no prior pelvic examination and Pap smear .
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if a subsequent Pap smear has not been obtained at recommended intervals of:
Deferring sexual activity until age 18 or older, practicing monogamy, and safer sex behaviors all reduce the potential of developing cervical dysplasia.
Update Date: 1/27/2002Dominic Marchiano, M.D., Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT