Can cervical cysts be cancerous?

Answers from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.

Cervical cysts — mucus-filled lumps that form on the cervix — aren't cancerous. Also called nabothian (nuh-BOW-the-un) cysts, cervical cysts form when normal tissue on the outer part of the cervix grows over the glandular, mucus-producing tissue of the inner part of the cervix. When mucus becomes trapped, a cyst forms.

Your doctor might discover a cervical cyst incidentally during a pelvic exam. In general, cervical cysts don't cause symptoms and require no treatment.

In some cases, though, you might have a cervical cyst or other lesion that looks unusual to your doctor. Or you may have other signs and symptoms that suggest cervical cancer, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pain during intercourse. If so, your doctor may collect a tissue sample (biopsy) to send for lab testing.

Feb. 26, 2014 See more Expert Answers