A broad spectrum of conditions classically requires a colposcopic assessment for either diagnostic or treatment means, including atypical changes in the cervix-vagina and vulva, abnormal Pap tests, cervicitis, polyps, cervical warts, genital warts, and bleeding. Although the procedure is commonly considered as criteria for the management of cervical cancer, the sensitivity of colposcopy is quite limited as its ability to discriminate among dysplasia and microinvasive carcinoma is difficult. Most professional societies and international health organizations have already released guidelines and recommendation for the management for woman with abnormal cervical pathology (e.g., cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer); only women with positive human papillomavirus (HPV) tests, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), or severe cytology have clear indication for referral to a colposcopic evaluation. While most guidelines recommend colposcopy for any abnormal cytology or any positive HPV test, others apply only for woman with two consecutive unsatisfactory Pap tests or for those with some abnormalities. In conclusion, cervical cancer risk remains high; thus, the potential benefit of colposcopy examination should be balanced against the risk.
Part of the book: Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology