Cervical dysplasia: Changes from normal in the cells lining the cervix of the uterus. Cervical dysplasia involves a sequence of cellular changes from mild to severe that are not yet cancerous but constitute the prelude to cervical cancer.
The diagnosis of cervical dysplasia is made from the PAP smear. As a rule, cervical dysplasia is found in no more than 5% of PAP smears. The incidence peaks in women 25 to 35 years of age. Risk factors include multiple sexual partners, the early onset of sexual activity (before age 18), early childbearing (before age 16) and a history of an STD (a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia, genital warts gonorrhea, genital herpes, and HIV). In a woman with HIV, the speed of changes in cervical dysplasia is accelerated.
The treatment depends on the degree of dysplasia. It may include cryotherapy (freezing the area) and conization (removal of a cone of tissue from the cervix). The aim is to prevent full-fledged cervical cancer.