• Vol. 27 No. 5, 666–670
  • 15 September 1998

The Management Dilemma of the Mildly Abnormal Smear: Fact or Fiction?



For at least 10 years, there has been much controversy regarding the management of women presenting with a first mildly dyskaryotic cervical smear. Argument has centred on many key issues, including the risk of progression to more serious disease, the anxiety caused to the patient, the risk of overtreating patients with minor disease and, more recently, the financial implications of prompt intervention and treatment. Essentially, it has been established for many years that only two main management options are appropriate. The first is a policy of referring all patients with mild dyskaryosis for prompt colposcopy and intervention. The second option is to keep such patients under cytological surveillance, with recourse to colposcopy only if the lesion persists or progresses on subsequent cytological screening. This review article aims at appraising the evidence that is currently available in an attempt to try and resolve the management dilemma posed by a mildly abnormal smear.

Carcinoma of the cervix is still a relatively common gynaecological malignancy. However, despite being potentially preventable it still claims the lives of many women even in those countries where organised screening programmes exist.

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