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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index

I am new to these boards as well, but I have been reading them for the past month or so. I just went through three colposcopies after having two abnormal pap smears. I can tell you about my experience with this, and also the others on this board are very helpful! It's kind of a long story, but I think it may help. I had an abnormal pap smear last December, which was read as ASCUS. That just means you have abnormal cells but they don't know what they are from. I had a coloposcopy because I tested positive for a strain of HPV (human papaloma virus), which is known to cause cancer. At the first colposcopy they said it was "normal" and said that I should just go back for a follow up in 6 months. However, they said my cervix was "diffcult to image" because I had what is called a cervical ectropion. This is when cells that are normally on the inside of your cervix are on the outside. The difficulty with this is that when they use the acetic acid to look for the abnormal areas on your cervix, abnormal areas will appear white, but so will the area of this ectropion. Sometimes it is hard for them to tell what they are looking at in this case. The brown stuff you are probably referring to is iodine that they use as another way of imaging the abnormal areas of your cervix. The normal areas turn brown when iodine is painted on. In my case, this ectropion was difficult for them to stain, and it turned very pale shades of brown. Point being, they said as far as they could tell, this was "normal". To me, this sounds like it is similar to what happened to you. Anyway, I went for a follow up pap smear 4 months later which came back as High Grade SIL (or severe dysplasia). This means that they found a higher percentage of abnormal cells. I was terrified that I had cancer, as almost everyone seems to be after getting this type of result. I went for another colposcopy and they did find an area with actual abnormal cells this time. They said that severe dysplasia has a 35% chance of returning to normal on its own, but that it is usually treated just in case. It commonly takes up to ten years before becoming cancer, but they generally treat it right away. In the mean time I did a ton of research trying to find out about this. I found out that keeping your immune system healthy is important so I started taking vitamins and stopped taking birth control pills (They have listed long term use of BCPs as a risk factor for precancerous conditions of the cervix). I had to wait another 4 months to get treatment because I moved in the middle of all this.

I ended up with another colposcopy and I finally got a LEEP procedure done, where they cut away the abnormal part with an electrical loop. End of story, after almost a year, it is over with and I got the lab report back last week saying they removed all of the abnormal part and that it had reverted to mild/moderate dysplasia from severe. Now I just have to have pap smears every for months for awhile.

In response to your question about the biopsy, did they do a cone biopsy or a punch biopsy? I though a cone biopsy was something you had to be in the hospital and knocked out for. If they just did a regular biopsy and it shows abnormalities, they might suggest you have it treated or see if it gets better on its own, depending if it is mild, moderate, or severe.

The reason I wanted to post this long story is because I have learned so much from this experience! I learned that it helps to do research on your own and ask the doctors lots of questions. If they can't/won't answer them, and it is possible, find another doctor! I also learned that stress can cause your immune system to go down the tubes, which allows this virus to cause abnormal cells (As mentioned in other posts on this board, a huge percentage of the population has the virus. Many people do not know about it because their bodies fight it off and they don't develop abnormal cells). I have been religiously taking my vitamins and trying not to let stress in my life get the best of me. I also learned the difficulties of having a cervix that was not as easily characterized.

I know you will find lots of helpful information on these boards!


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