All women know the so-called “Pap smear”. In this test, cells are taken from the cervix and examined under a microscope. The finding is then assigned to one of five upper categories. I stands for no abnormalities. III is severe inflammation or degenerative tissue changes, and IIId is the first evidence of precancerous lesions. V has malignant cervical carcinoma, i.e., cervical cancer.
In the case of conspicuous cell changes, conventional medicine speaks of “cervical dysplasia”. The altered cells can develop into cancer. Incidentally, such cell changes are often preceded by infections with human papillomaviruses (HPV). There is also a test for this, which can be performed regularly every three years along with the Pap smear in women 35 years of age and older. Infection with HPV usually leads to cervical cancer years later. However, many infections are asymptomatic and heal on their own. With regard to cancer risk, it always depends on the type of HP virus present.