Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Let's beat cancer sooner

Confused about conflicting Colposcopy results.

14 Nov 2017 16:34

Following an abnormal smear result, I had 4 small biopsies taken which showed CIN 3 - so I was recalled back the following week for LLETZ treatment. 

That was 4 weeks ago, and I’ve received a letter this morning saying that the tissue removed from the LLETZ showed changes amounting to CIN 1  

So now I’m confused - which one is it..?! That’s quite a discrepancy... :-/

Re: Confused about conflicting Colposcopy results.

15 Nov 2017 14:28 in response to MemmaJ

Hello MemmaJ and thank you for your post.

It is not uncommon for the grade of abnormality on initial small biopsy and the larger treatment biopsy to differ. There may be several explanations for this. It is not unusual for CIN 1, 2 and 3 to be present when there are abnormal cells. It is possible that there was only a small focus of CIN 3 which the initial small biopsy removed. It is also possible that your immune system (which the initial small biopsy may have stimulated) cleared some of the human papilloma virus (HPV) causing the abnormal cells. Once HPV clears the abnormal cells on the cervix return to normal.

Initial small biopsies are taken from the areas on the cervix that look abnormal. It is not possible on an initial small biopsy to determine if all the abnormality has been removed. Once CIN 2 or CIN 3 is detected on an initial small biopsy a colposcopy treatment is necessary to ensure that all the area of abnormality is removed, and to make sure that there is no more serious abnormality present.

I hope that this reply puts your mind at rest.

With kind regards,


Re: Confused about conflicting Colposcopy results.

18 Nov 2017 07:06 in response to CRUK Nurse Mary
So I did have CIN 3 there..? Maybe just a small amount..? Surely it’s not possible for a biopsy result to be wrong altogether?

Re: Confused about conflicting Colposcopy results.

20 Nov 2017 14:55 in response to MemmaJ

Hi MemmaJ

Thank you for getting back to us.

You asked if you had CIN 3 present.

Unfortunately, I am unable to say for sure if CIN 3 had been present, as I am not involved in your care. I assume you received a copy of your biopsy results to know it was CIN 3. If this was the case then it is likely that CIN 3 was present.

To get confirmation of this, you could ask your GP to check their notes and any correspondence they have received regarding your biopsy results.

Sorry I couldn’t be more specific.

Best wishes