What Does It Mean If You Have An Abnormal Pap Smear? – Health Digest

Your initial reaction to hearing that abnormal cells were found after a pap smear may be to jump to the conclusion that you have cervical cancer, but there's no need to think that right off the bat, explains Self. There's an important distinction between abnormal and cancerous, and the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Dr. Nicole S. Nevadunsky,associate professor in the division of gynecologic oncology at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, spoke with Self about the meaning behind an abnormal test result. She explained that the most common cause of abnormal cells on the cervix is the HPVvirus, a sexually transmitted disease. With over 100 different HPV viruses, only a few can actually cause cancer the presence of the virus is simply altering the appearance of your cervical cells, rather than causing them to become cancerous.

However, it may be necessary for you to undergo further testing to determine the cause of the abnormal cells and any next steps, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Potential tests include HPV typing to determine the type of HPV virus that you've contracted; a colposcopy, which looks at the surface of the cervix with a magnifying device; or simply repeat testing of the cervix within six months to a year of the abnormal pap smear. In the case that the cells are determined to be pre-cancerous or cancerous, you will be referred to a specialist for follow-up.

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What Does It Mean If You Have An Abnormal Pap Smear? - Health Digest

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