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The Pap smear that you undergo annually was designed to determine the presence of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.
Cervical dysplasia is simply the abnormal growth of cell tissue on the cervix. It is not cancer. It is, however, a precancerous condition that, if left untreated can progress to cervical cancer.
Even though fibroids may be present, it is still critical for you to undergo an annual Pap smear. It doesn't matter how large or small your fibroids are or where they are located in/on your uterus; a Pap smear should be an annual rite of passage for all women (even for those who've undergone hysterectomy that resulted in the removal of their cervix--although the cervix may no longer be present, abnormal cells can still develop in the vagina). Although at least one physician told me that the presence of large fibroids would skew the test results from a Pap smear, his commentary couldn't have been further from the truth. The presence of fibroids is not an indication that you should forego the annual Pap smear.
There are a wide variety of treatment options for dysplasia and cure rates for all of them run at about 95%. While hysterectomy is sometimes recommended to patients with advanced dysplasia, it is generally not necessary except as a last resort when treatment has failed repeatedly and/or it progresses to cervical cancer.
What You'll Find
Patient Education Center
|What causes cervical dysplasia?|
|Ed Uthman, MD||Tips for Making Good Pap Smears. This webpage is targeted to gynecologists -- but I found it extremely helpful in understanding the difficulty of obtaining definitive results with a pap smear.|
|American Medical Association||What is cervical dysplasia, how is it treated and questions you may want to ask your doctor.|
|PlainSense.com||Cervical Dysplasia: What it is and what can be done about it.|
|Paul Indman, MD||Alternatives in Gynecology. Excellent explanation of cervical dysplasia complete with graphics of the cells that make dysplasia very easy to understand.|
|John Hopkins||About Cervical Dysplasia. Identification of symptoms, causes and stages of dysplasia.|
|www.ec.hscsyr.edu/cyto/||SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse and Susan Stowell||Cervical dysplasia tutorial. Microscopic images.|
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|Pap smear results: Atypical cells.|
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This page last updated Saturday, February 02, 2002