using the very latest equipment.
Abnormal CIN cells on the cervix have the potential to develop into cancer if they’re not treated. CIN cells might have been detected on a smear test and confirmed during a colposcopy examination. Not all CIN needs treatment, however it is important to treat those that are not mild, or that have persisted for a period of time.
It’s normal to feel anxious when you receive abnormal smear or colposcopy results, however there is good reason for optimism. At The Colposcopy Unit, CIN can be treated promptly and efficiently, with ninety-five percent of women being cured following their first treatment.
When does CIN need treatment?
CIN stands for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia, which is a term used to describe abnormal cells. The changes are caused by the wart virus or HPV and, if left untreated, the CIN cells have the potential to turn into cancer.
Not all CIN requires treatment. CIN 1 can often resolve on its own without any therapy. Higher grades of CIN are less likely to settle spontaneously, so treatment is usually recommended to women with CIN 2 and CIN 3. Treatment is performed to remove an area of abnormal cells and prevent them developing into cancer.
What is the best treatment for CIN?
The Colposcopy Unit offers the latest and best evidence-based treatments for CIN. Many people think that CIN treatment involves LASER. In fact, although LASER sounds high-tech, it is used very little nowadays and has been superseded by more modern techniques of excising the part of the cervix containing the atypical cells:
- LLETZ: The method most frequently used to treat pre-cancerous change in the neck of the womb is LLETZ, which stands for large loop excision of the transformation zone. It is a minimally-invasive procedure in which a heated device known as diathermy is used to cut away the area of abnormal cells. This is the preferred technique of Mr Thomas Ind for most women at The Colposcopy Unit. It is sometimes called LEEP or Loop Electrical Excision Procedure, all these terms refer to the same technique.
Other, less commonly used, procedures include:
- Cold Coagulation: A heated device is applied to the cervix; this burns away the abnormal cells.
- Cryotherapy: This technique involves freezing and destroying the abnormal cervical cells. This can be done at the same time as colposcopy and is only appropriate for the treatment of minor cell changes.
- Cone biopsy: Cone biopsy is a minor operation which is usually performed under general anaesthetic, either as a day case or with an overnight stay. It is used when the abnormal area of cells is more extensive. A cone-shaped piece of the cervix is excised. This area contains the abnormal cells, so that they are removed and are unable to develop into cancer.
The right treatment will depend on the results of your colposcopy and biopsy, your health and wellbeing and your future family plans. Mr Thomas Ind will take time to talk you through your procedure, discuss the options and explain the pros and cons of the procedure.
CIN treatment risks
Mr Ind and the expert team in The Colposcopy Unit will take great care to support you throughout the procedure and prevent any complications. However, side-effects can happen following any intervention, after CIN treatment these include:
- Mild cramping pain, like a period. This usually settles in few hours and can be eased with a hot water bottle or some paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Light vaginal bleeding or a blood-stained brown vaginal discharge which can last up to a month.
Uncommonly, more serious complications can happen, including:
- Infection, which can cause heavy, persistent bleeding, an offensive vaginal discharge and ongoing abdominal pain.
- Heavy bleeding with clots, which rarely requires hospital treatment and transfusion.
- A slightly increased risk of preterm deliveries or mid-term loss in future pregnancies. The danger is higher in women who have had larger sections of the cervix removed, or who have required repeat treatment.
Please contact The Colposcopy Unit if you have any concerns. Mr Ind and the team are always happy to advise and answer all your queries and concerns about complications and the risks of treatment.
CIN treatment success
Treatment of CIN has excellent results with ninety-five percent of women being completely cured after just one treatment. Some women need continued monitoring for minor changes, following treatment. Others may need repeat treatment to remove further abnormal cells. The Colposcopy Unit will arrange ongoing smear tests or colposcopy examinations. It is important you attend for follow-up to maintain your health and identify any problems before they progress.
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