“Just because a woman is diagnosed with cervical dysplasia does not mean that she will develop cervical cancer,” says Justin Chura, MD, medical director of gynecological oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia.
A Pap smear will detect cervical dysplasia, which means atypical cell growth that’s non-malignant.
Dr. Chura explains, “For women with mild cervical dysplasia, no treatment is recommended, as this process resolves on its own most of the time.
“In addition, mild cervical dysplasia does not lead to cervical cancer. Severe cervical dysplasia, however, can lead to cervical cancer if not treated.
“Fortunately, treatments such as a cone biopsy are very effective in preventing this process from turning into cervical cancer.
“For some women with severe dysplasia, hysterectomy may also be an appropriate treatment option. The progression from severe dysplasia to cancer takes several years to occur.”
Luck of the Draw: Who Will and Won’t Develop Cervical Cancer
Dr. Chura explains, “The problem is that we do not know for which patient it will turn into cancer and for which patient it will not.
“One risk factor that a woman can control in potentially decreasing the risk of dysplasia progressing the cancer is exposure to tobacco.
“In other words, smoking should be avoided in women within all women, but especially in women with cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer.” Quit smoking!
Dr. Chura says, “Cancer treatment can be difficult, but we can provide options to alleviate symptoms and get patients through surgery and chemotherapy using a comprehensive care model.”
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.