While essential, annual pap smears are never up there on anyone’s “favorite” list. Pap smears can detect abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer. When you receive an abnormal result, it can be scary and carry a lot of uncertainty. Here are some steps your doctor may recommend after an abnormal pap test.
Abnormal Results Doesn’t Mean You Have Cancer.
An abnormal Pap test means an abnormality was in your cell sample and is not a specific cancer diagnosis. It means that you could have:
- An infection
- Abnormal cervical cells
- Cervical cancer
Pap tests have helped protect many women from cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths. These routine tests can help in locating precancerous abnormalities early to treat more easily. Many of which typically go away by themselves. Because of this, some women will be asked to return for a repeat Pap test in three to six months.
Your Doctor May Recommend a Colposcopy
Your doctor may recommend further testing and perhaps treatment to discover more about your abnormality. A colposcopy is similar to a Pap smear. However, your doctor will use a magnifying lens to get a closer look at your cervix to see abnormal cells. Your doctor will likely take a biopsy once they identify the abnormal cells to send for testing.
Once your biopsy results are finalized, your doctor will explain the changes in your tissue sample. Sometimes, they are low-grade, which means you can watch and wait. If the changes are moderate- to high-grade, your doctor will evaluate more options.
Your provider may recommend the removal of the cervical tissue. Typically, this is done using the Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). Or performing the procedure with a cold knife cone biopsy as a minor surgical procedure.
Abnormal Pap Test? We Can Help!
If you’ve received an abnormal pap test, another great option to consider is joining a research study. Women’s Health Care Research has enrolling colposcopy studies for women with abnormal pap results. Don’t sit in the dark; see if you qualify today! Call us at (858) 505-8672 or visit our website for more information.