HPV and Cervical Dysplasia

My girlfriend's pap smear came back abnormal and after a biopsy was taken it as determined that she has HPV. Further testing shows she may have cervical dysplasia and will possibly need surgery. What exactly is cervical dysplasia, and how closely is this related to anything cancerous? Also, is this a direct cause of HPV?

Cervical dysplasia literally means abnormal development of tissue (dysplasia) covering the cervix (cervical). So what does "abnormal" mean? Although abnormal cells can be a precursor to cancer, they are not necessarily a diagnosis of cancer. Cervical dysplasia describes the entire range of possibilities for abnormal growth. Because cervical cancer progresses in stages, pap smears have effectively decreased the death rate from cervical cancer by 70% through the early detection of abnormal growth. Some women with cervical dysplasia have the growths removed with no problem and no recurrence, whereas others will develop cervical cancer. Detecting and treating dysplasia early on is an essential step towards preventing cancer. For this reason most gynecologists will act quickly to remove any lesions in the cervix and require subsequent Pap smears to check for any additional growth in the future.

HPV(human papillomavirus) is strongly associated with cervical dysplasia and with cervical cancer. Over 90% of people with cervical cancer carry the HPV. Although we are not certain of how cancerous growth is initiated and if HPV directly causes cervical cancer, we do know that frequently women with cervical dysplasia will also be infected with HPV. We also know that untreated HPV can result in recurrent, persistent cervical dysplasia; where flare-ups of HPV are matched by abnormal growth of cervical cells. For this reason it is equally important that a woman with cervical dysplasia get tested for HPV as it is for a woman with HPV to get a regular Pap smear. Women who begin having sex at an early age, who smoke and who are exposed to multiple sexual partners are at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. A woman who has low risk but is sexually involved with a man who has had multiple partners increases her risk. Genetics play little role in the development of cervical cancer.

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