Colposcopy has identified an area on your vagina or cervix (neck of the womb) which may contain abnormal cells. A punch biopsy is carried out to remove a tiny portion of the abnormal-looking area so that it can be examined more closely in the laboratory. The laboratory will diagnose any cancerous or pre-cancerous changes.
Pre-cancerous changes on the cervix are known as ‘cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia’ or CIN. Pre-cancerous changes on the vagina are known as ‘vaginal intra-epithelial neoplasia’ or VaIN. There are three grades of CIN/VaIN. The grades describe how far the abnormal cells have gone into the surface layer of the skin.
Neither CIN nor VaIN mean that you have cancer, but if left untreated, these abnormal cells are at risk of developing into cancer over a long period of time in the future. A punch biopsy helps to decide the most appropriate management option for you.