Your cervix is the lowest part of your uterus, extending into your vagina. Cells in the cervix are constantly changing. If those changes become abnormal, dysplasia develops. This may turn into cancer if left untreated. With regular Pap tests, however, dysplasia can be caught and treated early.
The Role of the Cervix
The circular cervix separates your uterus from your vagina and provides a passage for menstrual blood, sperm, and childbirth. During pregnancy, its muscular structure helps hold the fetus securely inside your uterus.
How Problems May Develop
Normal cells in the cervix flatten as they grow. They form a protective layer as they move toward the surface of the cervix.
Dysplasia begins when abnormal changes occur in cells on the surface of the cervix. Some cells may grow irregularly.
Invasive cancer occurs when abnormal cells spread from the surface into deeper parts of the cervix. The cancer may ultimately spread to other areas of the body.