Abnormal or atypical changes, which resemble malignancy involving a part or whole thickness of the epithelial lining or superficial covering of the cervix the mouth of the womb.
There is a transformation zone between the lining of the uterus and the vagina which changes during developmental phases such as adolescence and pregnancy. Introduction of a carcinogen through sexual intercourse at a younger age is perhaps the most likely cause. Multiple sexual partners increase the likelihood of introduction of multiple agents. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has been identified as the likely co-factor. Other associated high risk factors include low socio-economic status, poor hygiene and multiparity.
Cervical dysplasia is asymptomatic. It may produce increased vaginal discharge. On examination the cervix may be absolutely healthy or have small ulcers.
Pap Smear, the screening test is the most important test to pick up these early cases. In cases of positive smear colposcopy (a test in which the cervix is examined with the help of magnification) is carried out and a biopsy is taken for final confirmation.
Treatment Cervical dysplasia is precancerous and not cancer. Fortunately almost 2/3 of cases of cervical dysplasia regress spontaneously and do not progress to invasive cancer. In one third of cases the lesion may progress to cancer but it may take a long time to do so. Moderate to severe dysplasia need treatment which may be in the form of cervical cryo canterization LEEP or conization. Radical procedures like hysterectomy are generally not required. Treatment of dysplasia is simple, effective and has very low failure rate.