The Pap Smear has been around since the 1940s, named after George Papanicolaou, it is a screening test for cervical cancer. In the 1940s – cervical cancer was the number one killer of women, through the development and use of this screening test, we have reduced the death rate for cervical cancer patients by 70%. Early detection has given us an edge in treating this condition.
Risk factors for cervical cancer include:
Cervical cancer screening now employs a liquid based cytology screening (ThinPrep) which has a higher accuracy then the Pap Smear method. Regular cervical screens helps physicians detect pre-cancerous lesions and treat appropriately. Through cervical screening we can identify the presence and strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Certain strains of HPV are highly associated with cervical cancer and can be identified through additional testing.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG, has recommended the following screening guidelines:
An abnormal pap result can be a scary experience for a woman.
Abnormal results are grouped as follows:
An alternative grading method of grading the degree of degree of cervical dysplasia is also used. The term cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or CIN. CIN grading outlines how much of the lining of the cervix is affected by abnormal cells.
Based on the level of dysplasia a treatment plan is recommended for the patient. Earlier stages of dysplasia are often treated by a ‘watch and wait’ approach by the standard medical system. Treatments for more advanced dysplasia aim to remove the abnormal cells through various procedures.
Through Naturopathic therapies, we can offer a conjunctive approach and treatment of abnormal pap results. Key aspects of treatment plans will be discussed in a future blog post!
Dr. Jaspreet Mundeir, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor practicing in the East Bay Area. She is the owner of East Bay Natural Medicine where she focuses on helping patients achieve their optimal health state using homeopathy, hydrotherapy, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and bio-identical hormones.
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