Understanding Cervical Changes: A Health Guide for Women

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Understanding Cervical Changes is a health guide for women. It reassures women that most abnormal cervical screening results are not cancer, but rather early cell changes that can be monitored or treated so they don’t cause health problems. It explains next steps after an abnormal Pap or HPV test result. Information about how cervical conditions are diagnosed and treated is also presented.

Specific topics covered include:

  • 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; information about what screening test to get and when to get them
  • Pap and HPV test results: ASC-US, AGC, LSIL, ASC-H, HSIL, AIS, and cervical cancer
  • Follow-up testing (colposcopy and biopsies, including endocervical curettage, punch biopsy and cone biopsy)
  • Treatments (cold knife conization, cryotherapy, laser therapy, and LEEP)
  • HPV vaccination

Related resources, medical images, and key questions to ask your health care provider before a procedure, or when you get your test results, are also included.

The information in this booklet was last updated in May 2017.

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