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The Cancer in Pregnancy Forum

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This Forum has been the centre of an exceptional exchange of knowledge diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and other effects of cancer during pregnancy and lactation. All are welcome to review the Questions and Answers posted here, provided that they acknowledge and accept the important proviso and disclaimer below.
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Forum > Other Therapies and Procedures: Other Therapies And Procedures
Colposcopy in pregnancy

CCoPE
Date: 2004-11-03

Question:
i am 41years old mrried woman now i'm pregnant 10 weeks i;m complaining of back pain lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge blood with yellowish stain papa smear was done the result was progesteron effect the advice of the consultant is to do colposcopy with biopsy my guestion is is it sefe with pregnancy to do a biopsy and is it wise to terminate pregnancy to prevent any possible effect of hormonal changes that occure with pregnancy on any suspecious ulcer on my cervix thank you

Answer:
The following information should not replace the assessment and advice you have been receiving from your physician (cancer specialist, obstetrician, or any other healthcare provider). It is offered for your information only. Consult your physician.

The information provided is not clear. Usually a colposcopy is done for abnormal cells that may become cancer (usually in many years) and not for progesterone effect.

Colposcopy is a safe procedure. It is really a microscope. The colposcopist inserts a speculum (the metal clamps used for pap smear) and looks through a microscope at the cervix. He/she may use a bit of diluted vinegar to make it clearer to see the cervix. This solution is safe as well. Thus colposcopy usually carries no risks for the pregnancy.

A problem may arise if an area on the cervix looks abnormal. The procedure then is to pinch the cervix and obtain a small piece of tissue (usually about 1 mm - about the size of a small bread crumb). This may cause a little bit of bleeding and a bit more so in pregnancy. The risk is minimal and it is to the mother and not the baby. Because of this increased tendency to bleed most colposcopist tend to do less biopsies during pregnancy. If done, the procedure should be done by a very experienced colposcopist for two reasons:

  1. Experience results in less biopsies as with experience most areas fall into normal or not and less into the in between.
  2. In pregnancy the appearance of the cervix is more suspicious because of the hormonal effect and with experience it is less likely that such areas will look suspicious.

There is usually no need to terminate a wanted pregnancy. The only exception is an invasive cervical tumor. Such a tumor is very rare. There have also been cases where the cervix has been removed without termination or any effect on the cervix.

In summary, it is very likely that the colposcopy would be normal, the risks of biopsies are low and the risk of cervical cancer or poor outcome of the pregnancy is very low. Therefore you should follow your doctor's advice and undergo the colposcopy.

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