Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Colposcopy and cryotherapy are procedures that can help prevent cervical cancer. If someone has an abnormal Pap test result, the health care provider can do a colposcopy. Colposcopy can be used to find abnormal cervical cells. Abnormal cervical cells may heal without treatment. Sometimes, abnormal cells can develop into cancer. Treatments, like cryotherapy, are highly effective at preventing cervical cancer.

Pap Smears and HPV Testing

Pap Smears and HPV tests are kinds of cervical cancer screening. Early detection is key to preventing cervical cancer.

Learn More


A colposcopy is a way to get a close-up view of the cervix. It's used to detect abnormal cells on the cervix and the area near the cervix. During a colposcopy, a health care provider uses a colposcope, an instrument that looks like binoculars with a bright light mounted on a stand, to view your cervix. A colposcopy may be necessary when:

  • you have abnormal Pap or HPV test results
  • your cervix looks abnormal during your annual 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 is a treatment for abnormal cells on the cervix. It's done by applying a very cold chemical to the cervix to freeze the cells. The freezing allows new, normal cells to grow back later in the same area. Cryotherapy cures the abnormal cells about 85 to 90 percent of the time. It is less likely to prevent cervical cancer if the abnormal cells are deep in the canal of the cervix.

If your treatment does not stop the abnormal cells, you may have cryotherapy again or your health care provider may recommend another treatment.


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.