Management of cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia, in a district general hospital, was examined for two 22-month periods before and after the introduction of colposcopy. This technique enables the clinician to evaluate the extent and severity of pre-malignant change, and makes treatment, using less radical destructive techniques, possible. The method of conservative treatment in this hospital was diathermy, and the cure rate of cases so treated was 97%. The use of diathermy treatment resulted in a 75% reduction in the incidence of cone biopsy in women below the age of 40 years. A further advantage of colposcopy has been recognized, which is that some women with "mild or moderate changes" are discovered to have more severe lesions, and receive appropriate treatment without delay. It follows that all patients with an abnormal smear should be referred for colposcopy, unless there is an obvious local cause of the abnormality, such as easily treatable infection, and that the post-treatment smear reverts to normal. In this hospital the cost of establishing a colposcopic service was low, and the cost benefits, as well as the improved management of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia suggests that the service should be introduced in all district general hospitals.
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