Cervical Dysplasia Why is my PAP test abnormal?

You go for your regular PAP smear and are told the results were abnormal. Do you have cancer? No, you probably just have cervical dysplasia.

Cervical dysplasia can be the first step in the development of cervical cancer. As a result it is important to get prompt evaluation and treatment.

The term cervical dysplasia refers to abnormal cells in a woman’s cervix (the opening of the uterus). It is from this area that the health provider obtains cells when performing a Pap smear. It is generally symptom free and may persist or go away on its own. It may be spotted by your doctor during a routine examination or it might show up on a PAP test.

If you know you are going to have a PAP test, do not douche or use vaginal creams or lubricants for at least two days before a Pap smear as it can interfere with detection of dysplasia. Studies have shown that certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), otherwise known as genital warts, increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical dysplasia. Two proteins in HPV repress both the tumor suppresser gene P53 and the cancer-fighting retinoblastoma protein PRV. Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as AIDS, as well as other various immunologic factors may also be linked to cervical dysplasia.

To help prevent CV, women should take vitamins. Vitamin A, riboflavin and folate (B vitamins) and Vitamin C deficiencies have been shown to increase the risk of cervical dysplasia.

Dysplasia may progress in 3 stages, from mild to moderate to severe. In mild dysplasia, the abnormal cells involve only 25% of the thickness of the skin overlying the cervix. In moderate dysplasia, the abnormal cells involve 50% of the thickness of the skin. With severe dysplasia, the involvement of the skin with abnormal cells is almost complete, with the full thickness affected.

Cervical cancer develops once the abnormal cells extend beyond the full thickness of the skin.
In most instances, mild dysplasia will spontaneously revert to normal without treatment and is not a serious risk to your health.

In a few instances, however, mild dysplasia will progress slowly to more advanced stages. In rare instances, dysplasia may progress to cancer of the cervix.

If you are diagnosed with cervical dysplasia, your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment to retake the tests. The tests will show if the dysplasia is regressing, which is normally the case, or if it is progressing to cancerous cells