Even if your CIN 1 has turned to CIN 2, you’re still not near the cancer danger zone sitting at CIN 2.
This is because if we skip a step in the progression, meaning, look at the progression of CIN 3 to cervical cancer, we’re still looking at quite a bit of time.
When a woman learns that her Pap smear shows CIN 1 (low grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia), this is alarming news to many once they know that CIN 1 is the first stage of a transformation process that has the potential to culminate in cervical cancer.
Some women will opt for the wait-and-see approach when they’re diagnosed with CIN 1, since surgical removal of the abnormal tissue isn’t exactly a picnic.
In fact, the standard recommendation is simply a follow-up Pap smear several months later.
It’s during that wait-and-see period that they fear that CIN 1 will turn into cancer, even though the follow-up Pap may be scheduled for only six months out.
“Most CIN 1 and 2 will resolve spontaneously (75%),” says Julian Schink, MD, Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Medical Director of Gynecologic and Medical Oncology, Midwestern Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Schink adds, “Some will progress to CIN 3 or cancer, but it takes many years. The median age of CIN 3 is 34 y/o, and the median age of cervical cancer is 44 y/o, suggesting that on average it takes 10 years for that last step (with a range of 4-20).”
If you’re still petrified over being diagnosed with CIN 2 or even CIN 1 and don’t think you can tolerate a wait-and-see approach for a follow-up Pap smear, you should discuss treatment options with your gynecologist.