Cervical Pathology Mapping

Cervical Pathology Mapping

We offer a new standard of care that helps our patients better understand their cervical health. DYSIS® computer-aided colposcopy is the latest technology for investigation of abnormal Pap smears and high-risk HPV tests. DYSIS® computer-aided colposcopy is cervical imaging technology that enables us to monitor and track cervical changes over time. DYSIS takes images and video as well as generating a colour-coded cervical map designed to help us increase detection of precancerous cervical lesions.

Why cervical screening is important

Cervical screening is important because cervical pre-cancer usually has no symptoms. Each year, more than 3.5 million Pap smears indicate an abnormality that requires medical follow-up. If your cervical screening tests indicated an abnormal result a colposcopy may be required to investigate further.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is the easiest gynaecological cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and vaccination. It is also very curable when found and treated early.

Who gets cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer happens most often in women 30 years or older but all women are at risk.

What causes cervical cancer?

Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a high-risk type of HPV (Human Papillomavirus). HPV is a virus that is passed from person to person through genital contact, such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If the HPV infection does not go away on its own, it may cause cervical cancer over time. Other things may increase the risk of developing cancer following a high-risk HPV infection, including:

  • Smoking
  • Having HIV or reduced immunity
  • Taking birth control pills for a long time (more than five years)
  • Having given birth to three or more children
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

You may not notice any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer. Signs of advanced cervical cancer may include bleeding or discharge from the vagina. These symptoms may not be caused by cervical cancer, but the only way to be sure is to see your doctor.

How do I find out if I have cervical cancer?

Women should start getting screened at age 21. You can get a Pap test to look for changes in cervical cells that could become cancerous if not treated. If the Pap test finds abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix, then further tests such as a colposcopy should be carried out. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 can get a Pap test, an HPV test or both tests.

What is the difference between a Pap test and an HPV test?

The Pap test and the HPV test look for different things. A Pap test checks the cervix for abnormal cell changes that, if not found and treated, can lead to cervical cancer. Your doctor takes cells from your cervix to examine under a microscope. How often you need a Pap test depends on your age and health history. Talk with your doctor about what is best for you. An HPV test looks for HPV on a woman’s cervix. Certain types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer. Your doctor will swab the cervix for cells. An HPV test is not the same as the HPV vaccine.

How often do I need to be screened for cervical cancer?

How often you need to be screened depends on your age and health history. Most women can generally follow these guidelines,

  • For women aged 21 and 29 years, you should get a Pap test every 3 years.
  • For women aged 30 to 65 years, you should get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years.
  • For women older than 65 years, ask your doctor if you can stop having Pap tests.
  • If you had a hysterectomy, you should follow these guidelines:
  • If you no longer have a cervix because you had a hysterectomy and you do not have a history of a high-grade precancerous lesions (CIN2+), then you do not need a Pap test.
  • If you had a hysterectomy because of abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer, you should have a yearly Pap test until you have three normal tests.
  • If you had your uterus removed but you still have a cervix (this type of hysterectomy is not common), you need regular Pap tests until you are 65 and have had three normal Pap tests in a row with no abnormal results in the last 10 years.
What can I do to prevent cervical cancer?
  • You can lower your risk of getting cervical cancer with the following steps. The steps work best when used together. No single step can protect you from cervical cancer. The best ways to prevent cervical cancer include:
  • Get an HPV vaccine (if you are 26 or younger). The HPV vaccine can protect girls and young women against the types of HPV that cause most cervical, vaginal and vulva cancers. The vaccines are recommended for preteens (both boys and girls) aged 11 and 12 years.
  • Get regular screenings. Regular Pap tests (and/or HPV testing) help your doctor find and treat any changing cells before they turn into cancer. Women who have had the HPV vaccine still need to have regular tests.
  • Limit the number of sexual partners. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is transmitted through sexual contact including vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Reducing the number of sexual partners can help reduce your risk of getting an STI, including HPV.
  • Use condoms. While the effect of condoms preventing HPV infection is unknown, research does show that condom has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer when used correctly.

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