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Cervical dysplasia describes abnormal cervical cells discovered upon Pap smear analysis. Cervical cancer is a common, sometimes fatal disease. It is now known that human papilloma virus is the major cause of cervical dysplasia, which is transmitted via sexual intercourse. More than 90% of cervical cancers contain DNA of the higher risk HPV viruses and that DNA has been found to be present in the early stage lesions of cervical cancer. There are no symptoms of cervical dysplasia until the disease has progressed into advanced cancer. Therefore, it is crucial that sexually active women, or women over age 20, have yearly Pap smears until the age of 65. Women who experience bleeding between menstrual periods, bleeding after intercourse, abnormal vaginal discharge, abdominal pain or swelling, urinary symptoms, or pelvic pain should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, even if it is not the regular time for a Pap test. The presence of cervical dysplasia requires medical attention in all cases. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cervical dysplasia, and increases the likelihood that mild forms of dysplasia will progress to more severe forms. Women who become sexually active at an early age and have multiple sexual partners are at increased risk for developing cervical dysplasia. A superior level of nutritional status of vitamin A, carotenoids such as lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folic acid have been reported to be associated with a reduced risk of cervical dysplasia.
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