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.

Colposcopy

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

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.