Colposcopy is a procedure that uses a special microscope (called a colposcope) to look into the vagina and to look very closely at the cervix (the opening to the uterus or womb).
The colposcopy magnifies, or enlarges the image of the outer portion of the cervix. It is somewhat like looking through a pair of binoculars. This allows the doctor to see the outer portion of the cervix better. Sometimes a small sample of tissue (called a biopsy) is taken for further study. The tissue samples help the doctor to figure out how to treat any problems found. If cancer of the cervix if found early, or a precancerous change of cells is found, it can be treated and almost always can be cured. Also, for pre cancers and early cancers of the cervix, sometimes removal of part of the cervix may be the only treatment needed.
Why would a woman require a colposcopy?
Colposcopy is usually done when a woman has an abnormal cervical screening test, previously called Pap smear (Pap smears or CST are done on a regular basis to screen for pre-cancerous changes of the cervix and other problems) or high risk HPV virus is detected or if women had abnormal bleeding. Other reasons a woman may need a colposcopy is when, during a pelvic exam, the cervix, vagina or vulva ("lips" or opening to the vagina) looks abnormal to the doctor. There are more questions you may ask regarding a colposcopy, please feel free to ask your Doctor or Dr. Ganu at you appointment.
THE PAP TEST HAS CHANGED
Cervical screening has changed in Australia from 1st December 2017. The Pap test has been replaced with a new Cervical Screening Test every 5 years, unless otherwise linically indicated. If you are a woman aged 25-74 years of age and have ever been sexually active you should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years until the age of 74. Your first Cervical Screening Test is due at 25 years of age or two years after your last normal Pap smear. If your results are normal then you will next be due for rescreening in 5 years.