While HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer, in reality it is very rare for HPV infection to progress to cancer with proper treatment. 60 to 80 % of CIN 1 dysplasias resolve on their own, and only about 1% of cases progress to invasive cervical cancer.
Cervical Pap Smear testing (short for Papanicolaou) is routinely performed by a gynecologist to detect the presence of HPV. With proper testing pre-cancerous cells on the cervix caused by HPV can be detected and removed before they manifest themselves into cancaerous lesions. Only about 1% of pre-cancerous cells ever develop into cervical cancer and a a result of pap smear testing the number has steadily dropped. Pap Smear testing calls for a "scraping" of a woman cervix. The scapred cells are then examined under a microscope for the presence of HPV. If HPV DNA is found the gynecologist may order a colposcopy in which a small portion of the cervix is removed for further testing.