ASCCP Colposcopy Standards: Risk-Based Colposcopy Practice

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Abstract

Objectives

The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) Colposcopy Standards recommendations address the role of and approach to colposcopy for cervical cancer prevention in the United States.

Materials and Methods

The recommendations were developed by an expert working group appointed by ASCCP's Board of Directors. This article describes the rationale, evidence, and recommendations related to risk-based colposcopy practice.

Results

Women referred to colposcopy have a wide range of underlying precancer risk, which can be estimated by referral screening tests including cytology and human papillomavirus testing, in conjunction with the colposcopic impression. Multiple targeted biopsies, at least 2 and up to 4, are recommended to improve detection of prevalent precancers. At the lowest end of the risk spectrum, untargeted biopsies are not recommended, and women with a completely normal colposcopic impression can be observed. At the highest end of the risk spectrum, immediate treatment is an alternative to biopsy confirmation.

Conclusions

Assessing the risk of cervical precancer at the colposcopy visit allows for modification of colposcopy procedures consistent with a woman's risk. Implementation of these recommendations is expected to lead to improved detection of cervical precancers at colposcopy, while providing more reassurance of negative colposcopy results.

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