Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment
In-office procedures, like colposcopy and LEEP, can help to detect and treat premalignant or malignant lesions discovered during cervical cancer screenings (aka pap smear). At Honu Women’s Health, we understand the importance of your doctor being your partner in health care and helping you create a path toward optimal health. Our board-certified OBGYN, Dr. Aya Sultan, emphasizes preventive care such as regular screenings and well-woman visits to support your health care needs no matter what phase of life you are in.
Understanding Testing and Treatment
A pap smear is a regular screening tool used during a well-woman visit that allows Dr. Sultan to check your cervix for abnormal cells. If an abnormal pap smear occurs, Dr. Sultan may recommend further screenings to check for precancerous indicators, include a colposcopy or LEEP.
Colposcopy and LEEP can help diagnose or assist in treating the following conditions:
- Genital warts
- Inflammation of the cervix
- Precancerous changes in cervical tissue
- Precancerous changes in the tissue of the vagina
- Precancerous changes of the vulva
Colposcopy is a procedure that utilizes a special magnifying device called a colposcope. This device shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix, allowing Dr. Sultan to enlarge the normal view of the cervix and see problems that might not be visible without magnification.
LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure during which an electric current passes through a thin wire loop, which then removes abnormal cells from the cervix.
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Why Do I Need a Colposcopy?
Dr. Sultan may recommend a colposcopy when another screening test shows abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix or to analyze genital warts on the cervix. Dr. Sultan can also use colposcopy to investigate benign growths called polyps, pain, bleeding or inflammation of the cervix.
What to Expect During a Colposcopy
Colposcopies are minimally invasive and can be performed in our office in 10-20 minutes. During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your feet in footrests. Dr. Sultan will then insert a speculum in order to allow her to see your cervix. She will also apply a solution that allows her to visualize abnormal areas more easily, and the colposcope will be used to illuminate the cervix. Dr. Sultan will examine the area through a magnifying lens and take pictures. Sometimes, a biopsy will be collected during the colposcopy to gather cells for further evaluation.
Why Do I Need a LEEP?
LEEP is used to evaluate the state of abnormal cells on the cervix and to treat or stop the spread of cervical cancer by removing abnormal cells.
What to Expect During the Treatment
A LEEP is usually conducted in the comfort of our office and only takes around 30 minutes. During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your feet in footrests just like you would during a pelvic exam. Dr. Sultan will insert a speculum and inject a numbing medication into your cervix, which may cause a slight sting or cramp, but will minimize pain. She will then insert the wire loop to remove abnormal cells from the cervix.
The cells that are removed will be sent to a lab for further analysis. These results will determine if further testing or treatment is needed. You may experience watery, pink discharge or slight cramping after the procedure. These are normal and usually only last a few days or weeks as you recover.
Choosing Honu Women’s Health for Continued Care
At Honu Women’s Health, we understand that receiving an abnormal pap test or having a colposcopy or LEEP procedure can be stressful. It is important to keep in mind that these procedures can save your life if they detect early stages of cancer. Your comfort and care are our top priority and we will always go the extra mile to provide care that is tailored to fit not only your symptoms but also your lifestyle and goals. Dr. Sultan understands the challenges women face physically, emotionally, and medically during different stages of life, and she always treats each patient as a unique individual.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a well-woman examination to ensure you are living your healthiest life possible. No matter the outcome of your examination, we will be with you every step of the way to support your healthcare needs.