Will cervical displaysia lead to cancer or infertility?

Christina S. Chu, MD
Last Modified: March 24, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I have severe cervical dysplasia. How likely is the chance of cancer? Will this affect my chance of having children if properly treated? Thank you.  


Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Typically, patients with severe cervical dysplasia are counseled to undergo cone biopsy of the cervix to treat the abnormality, and to ensure that no invasive cancer is present. Studies have shown that about 30% of patients who allow their severe dysplasia to go untreated develop invasive cancer over 10 years of follow-up. If you pursue proper treatment and follow-up, your chances of developing invasive cancer are low. If you do develop invasive cancer, the chance for catching it early and achieving a cure are very good as long as you and your physician are conscientious about follow-up testing.

One of the rare risks associated with the cone biopsy is cervical stenosis. Cervical stenosis occurs when scarring after the procedure causes an abnormal narrowing in the opening of the cervix. This may cause difficulty getting pregnant by blocking the entry of sperm in to the uterus, and by affecting the normal mucous secretions of the cervix as well. Another risk of the cone biopsy is cervical deformity and possible second trimester miscarriage. This is also rare, and is usually associated only with removal of large portions of tissue at the time of the biopsy. Most women do not have problems with either getting pregnant, or carrying a term pregnancy.