Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

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How women with abnormal Pap test results are treated to prevent cervical cancers from developing

If an abnormal area is seen during the colposcopy, your doctor will be able to remove it with a loop electrosurgical procedure (LEEP or LLETZ procedure). Other options include a cold knife cone biopsy and destroying the abnormal cells with cryosurgery or laser surgery.

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 might 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: 05/02/2013
Last Revised: 02/04/2014