An Introduction to the Normal Cervix, Neoplasia, and Colposcopy
The uterine cervix presents a unique opportunity to clinicians in that it is physically and visually accessible for evaluation. It demonstrates a well-described spectrum of histological and colposcopic findings from health to premalignancy to invasive cancer. Since nearly all cervical neoplasia occurs in the presence of human papillomavirus infection, the cervix provides the best-defined model of virus-mediated carcinogenesis in humans to date. The clinical use of colposcopy for the evaluation of cervical cytologic abnormalities allows the identification and successful management of most premalignant cervical lesions. Its usefulness and efficacy in cancer prevention is undisputed and unparalleled. Interest in colposcopy has grown steadily along with the incidence of cervical disease during the past three to four decades. More and more primary care physicians are receiving training in colposcopy. This has, no doubt, improved efforts to identify and manage cervical neoplasia appropriately.
This informational site is intended to serve as an introduction to the uterine cervix in health and disease and to the clinical use of colposcopy. It does not provide the scope of information or clinical training necessary to become a competent colposcopist. We do hope to provide answers to basic questions and also help determine if colposcopy should play a role in your clinical practice. If so, we hope you will attend one or more of the ASCCP's Comprehensive Courses, which are held throughout the year at varying locations throughout the United States. This should always be followed by a closely supervised period of clinical training during which an experienced colposcopist provides mentoring in the development of these skills. If you are in training or already trained in colposcopy and wish to review current information, this website may provide a useful review. If you want a more thorough review of current colposcopy or treatment practices, you may wish to attend an ASCCP's Comprehensive Course or one of the Advanced Colposcopy Courses (or similar course).