Colposcopy and cryotherapy are procedures that can help prevent cervical cancer. If a woman has a Pap test with abnormal results, her health care provider can do a colposcopy. Colposcopy can be used to find abnormal cervical cells. Abnormal cervical cells may heal without treatment. But sometimes, abnormal cells can develop into cancer. Treatments, like cryotherapy, for abnormal cells are highly effective at preventing cervical cancer.
A colposcopy is a way to get a close-up view of the cervix. It is used to detect abnormal cells on the cervix and the area near the cervix. During a colposcopy procedure, a health care provider uses a colposcope — an instrument that looks like binoculars with a bright light mounted on a stand. A colposcopy may be used when
- you have abnormal Pap or HPV test results
- your cervix looks abnormal during a gyn exam
- you need to find the cause of unexplained bleeding or other problems
A colposcopy procedure is used to determine whether more tests or treatments are needed.
Cryotherapy ("cryo") is a treatment for abnormal cells on the cervix. It is done by applying a very cold chemical to the cervix to freeze the cells. This allows new, normal cells to grow back later in the same area. Cryo cures the problem about 85–90 percent of the time. It is less likely to cure the problem if the abnormal cells are deep in the canal of the cervix.
If your treatment does not cure your problem, you may have cryo again, or your health care provider may recommend another treatment.
Call 1-800-230-PLAN for more information or visit one of our two health centers to schedule your next exam.