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Abnormal Pap Smear

Abnormal Pap Smear

What does abnormal Pap smear mean?

Pap smear or Papanicolaou/ Papanikolaou smear test that was named after its proprietor Dr. Georgios Papanikolaou. This procedure is a diagnostic examination that would identify for presence of cervical cancer in women. In order to attain a sample for screening, the collection of the cells/sample from the cervix of a woman is done. The cervix is basically referred as the neck of the womb/uterus or the narrow end of the vaginal canal.

This procedure is done as a yearly or every two years check-up for women who have come of age (21) or most preferably to those women who have started to be sexually active. It has also been noted that this procedure is a required procedure when women turn 18, quite preferred by medical professionals. This is duly indicated for the prevalence rate of cervical cancer has increased with the young nowadays. Those women who are aged over 30 are obliged to such screening test along with a test that identifies presence of human papillomavirus.

Those indicated to submit themselves for regular Pap smear tests are those women who have showed precancerous cells in the result. Another is for those women who were exposed to DES or diethylstilbestrol. HIV patients are also prone to developing cervical cancer, that’s why they need to regularly checked, along with those who are immunocompromised and are under medical treatment for cancer.

This procedure is not likely to those who have undergone a total hysterectomy, the total removal of the uterus along with the cervix. Women who are of senior age do not require such procedure but with consideration.

Having a result of abnormal Pap smear would bring alarm to the affected. This would indicate for a possible cervical cancer. When abnormal cells are identified, it would indicate for further testing such as identification for presence of HPV- the known causative agent for cervical cancer.

Abnormal Pap Smear Causes & Reasons

The cause of this result is a known viral agent, human papillomavirus. This virus is sexually transmitted and is quite linked to cervical cancer. In fact, a prophylactic agent has been developed against this viral agent. Other causes for an abnormal pap smear are presence of infection or inflammation. Women who may have acquired herpes may have abnormal test result. Those who have just had sexual contact may have an abnormal result. So, it is important that a person shall inform the doctor of her medical history.

Those at risk for this condition are the following women:

  • Those who have multiple sexual partners, who do not protect themselves during the act of intercourse.
  • Those who have changes in their discharges. It can be described in the significant change of color, odor, amount and texture.
  • Those who experience pain during sexual intercourse. This may be accompanied by burning and itching in the pelvic area.
  • Dysuria is also noted, pain while urinating.
  • Presence of genital sores, lumps, blisters and rashes that are untoward may indicate risk for cervical cancer.
  • Those who have an unhealthy lifestyle. Such as women who smoke a lot are at due risk for an abnormal pap smear.

Abnormal pap smear Results

The abnormal pap smear results are grouped into three classifications. These levels are the following:

Mild abnormal cells / dysplasia

This is medically classified as CIN 1 or the cervival intraepithelial neoplasia (new growth). This is the precancerous development of cells. Also, this test result is referred as atypical, which means it is undetermined. This can be left without treatment. But in order to properly diagnose such condition, a test is done to screen for cervical cancer: colposcopy. This is the direct viewing of the cervical area of the patient.

Moderate or low abnormal cells / dysplasia

This is medically classified as CIN 2 or the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. If this is left untreated the possibility of the development of cancer is most likely.

Severe or high grade abnormal cells / dysplasia

Medical classified as CIN 3 or sever dysplasia. This severe change of cervical test would need proper reevaluation. This may require a follow-up check up in order to truly identify presence of cancer.

Adenocarcinoma cells are identified with the severe or high grade abnormal cells. As cervical cancer has been identified, the person may require treatment. This would include cancer treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy for positive cervical cancer patients.

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