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Understanding Cervical Changes: A Health Guide

This guide helps you learn about cervical cancer screening. It explains when to get screened and next steps after a normal or abnormal Pap or human papillomavirus (HPV) test result. It may be reassuring to know that most abnormal cervical screening results are not cervical cancer, but rather early cervical cell changes that can be monitored or treated so they don’t cause health problems.

What does this guide cover?

  • HPV infection (high-risk HPV and low-risk HPV)
  • HPV-related cancers
  • Cervical cancer screening tests (Pap test, HPV test, and cotesting)
  • Cervical cancer screening guidelines
  • Pap and HPV test results: ASC-US, AGC, LSIL, ASC-H, HSIL, AIS, or cervical cancer
  • Follow-up procedures, such as colposcopy and biopsies
  • Treatments including cold knife conization, cryotherapy, laser therapy, and LEEP
  • HPV vaccination

This guide is designed to be used in consultation with your health care provider. It has quotes from women, related resources, medical images, and key questions to ask your health care provider.

This booklet was updated September 2021.

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