A Pap smear is one of the best tools in the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. Therefore, when results come back “abnormal,” it’s natural to worry.
However, most abnormal test findings aren’t linked to cancerous cells. If your tests did come back abnormal, the next step is to repeat the tests and learn more about the nature of the cells collected from your cervix. Identifying, monitoring, and removing abnormal cells can prevent more serious complications.
Our staff at The Women's Center at Life Point Medical understands your worries and is here to explain why Pap smear results aren’t always an indication of a serious illness. Read on to find out what steps you need to take to ensure you’re well.
Sometimes the Pap smear tests can be influenced by a number of factors, including infections, inflammation, menstruation, pregnancy, recent sexual intercourse, and even aging.
If our staff suspects your results could be influenced by one of these factors, they may recommend waiting a few months and then repeating the Pap smear.
If our staff finds abnormal cells after the Pap smear is repeated, they may recommend a colposcopy.
A colposcopy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of a speculum, a tool inserted into the vagina to keep the walls open. It enables our experts to take a good look at abnormal tissues with a tool that magnifies.
A solution highlights the area that contains the abnormal cells so it stands out.
If our staff notices abnormal tissues during the colposcopy, they may recommend taking a small sample of tissue and sending it to the lab.
If our staff detects precancerous cells, they may recommend removing the problematic cells either by using a wire hoop heated with an electrical current or by taking a cone biopsy. The removal of the cells won’t hurt, as you’ll be under anesthesia.
Pap smears are the best way to ensure you catch the disease early on and are able to treat it successfully. Researchers aren’t sure what causes cervical cancer, but they suspect that most cases are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that often doesn’t present any symptoms.
Has it been a while since you got a Pap smear? Most women should get one every three to five years after the age of 20. Get peace of mind by contacting us and scheduling an appointment at our office in Clayton, Georgia.