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What do precancerous cells on the cervix mean?

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The growth of precancerous cells on the cervix, or cervical dysplasia, indicates that abnormal cells have developed on the cervix, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Cervical dysplasia is separated into low-grade and high-grade categories based on the extent of abnormal cell growth. For low-grade cases, the abnormal cells progress very slowly and often get better on their own without treatment. High-grade cases can lead to cervical cancer.

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Full Answer

Cervical dysplasia is typically diagnosed after a woman's annual Pap test, where it is often found in its early stages when it is very treatable, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Cervical dysplasia is linked to the sexually transmitted virus human papillomavirus, and a vaccine against this virus can minimize chances of developing cervical dysplasia.

There are typically no symptoms associated with cervical dysplasia, making an annual Pap test important to prevent the spread of abnormal cells, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. When symptoms are present, they may include genital warts, abnormal bleeding, spotting after intercourse, vaginal discharge and lower back pain. When results of cervical dysplasia appear, a colposcopy or biopsy may be done to further examine abnormal cells and provide a more conclusive diagnosis.

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