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Cell changes ae sometimes treated to stop them developing into cervical cancer.

Most mild cell changes would not become cervical cancer, but more marked changes have a higher chance. Treatment is done to try to prevent this happening.

The most common cell changes in the cervix are called Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN). These are graded as CIN 1 (mild), CIN 2 (moderate) or CIN 3 (severe).

Some people may have a type of cell change called Cervical Glandular Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CGIN). This is not usually graded.

Mild cell changes on the cervix (CIN 1) do not usually require treatment, as they normally go away on their own. You can usually just have a follow-up cervical screening test at your doctor's surgery or sexual health clinic.

More marked cell changes (CIN 2 and CIN 3) and CGIN are usually treated.

Treatment is either: -

  • Removing the abnormal area
    • Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone (LLETZ)
    • Cone Biopsy
  • Destroying the abnormal cells
    • Thermocoagulation (sometimes called cold coagulation)
    • Laser treatment
    • Cyrocautery (Freezing)

Individuals aged 30 and under who have CIN 2 can be offered treatment or surveillance (this means having regular checks in the colposcopy clinic). This is because the cell changes have a high chance of going back to normal on their own. If the cell changes do not improve, or develop into a higher grade change, treatment will be offered.

Individuals aged over 30 years with CIN 2 should be offered treatment

Everyone with CIN 3 and CGIN is offered treatment.

Treatments are normally done in the colposcopy clinic while you are awake (except for cone biopsy). Some local anaesthetic is injected into the cervix so it is numb.

Sometimes treatment is done under a general anaesthetic (you are asleep). This might be because the area is difficult to treat whilst you are awake. .

You will be given information about the types of treatment and advised which one is probably the best for you. Treatment cannot be done if you are pregnant but it is still important that you attend clinic appointments when advised to do so.

If you have treatment, you will be advised not to have sex for a month.  You should also not use tampons, go swimming or have a bath.


For further information, you can read our leaflet