Cervical Cancer

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Treating Cervical Cancer TOPICS

Treating pre-cancers and other abnormal Pap test results

If you have abnormal results on a colposcopy (this was discussed in the section, "How are cervical cancers and pre-cancers diagnosed?"), you may need treatment.

Abnormal areas seen on colposcopy can often be removed with a loop electrosurgical procedure (LEEP or LLETZ) or a cold knife cone biopsy (these were discussed in the section, "How are cervical cancers and pre-cancers diagnosed?"). Other options include destroying the abnormal cells with cryosurgery or laser surgery (These were discussed in the surgery section.

During cryosurgery, the doctor uses a metal probe cooled with liquid nitrogen to kill the abnormal cells by freezing them.

In laser surgery, the doctor uses a focused beam of high-energy light to vaporize (burn off) the abnormal tissue. This is done through the vagina, with local anesthesia.

Both cryosurgery and laser surgery can be done in a doctor's office or clinic. After cryosurgery, you may have a lot of watery brown discharge for a few weeks.

These treatments are almost always effective in destroying pre-cancers and preventing them from developing into true cancers. You will need follow-up exams to make sure that the abnormality does not come back. If it does, the treatments can be repeated.

Last Medical Review: 04/11/2013
Last Revised: 08/15/2014