It’s never fun to hear about abnormal Pap smear results, but here’s the good news: They’re usually not cause for alarm. And even if your provider finds something that needs treatment, these tests help you get it sooner. In some cases, early treatment ends up saving a life.
Our expert team at Eve Medical is pleased to offer Pap smears and any needed follow-up care for our patients throughout the Miami-Dade community.
Read on to learn about Pap smears, including when abnormal results lead to a cancer diagnosis or something else.
Pap smear basics
A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, checks for anything unusual that might lead to or indicate cervical cancer. During the test, we collect a small sample of cells from your cervix, located at the top of your vagina. We send those cells to a lab, where they’re analyzed for oddities.
An abnormal Pap smear can detect early signs of cervical cancer, so routine Pap smears may be responsible for reducing cervical cancer rates by up to 492,000 cases over three decades in the United States.
What your abnormal Pap smear results mean
Abnormal Pap smear results mean you have abnormal cells that may need further testing or to be monitored for a while. Your abnormal results may also simply reveal harmless changes in your cervical cells.
Abnormal results typically call for one or more additional tests, such as a:
- Biopsy, an analysis of a small sample of cervical tissue
- Colposcopy, to provide a clear view of your cervix
- Endocervical curettage, an analysis of cells from the endocervical canal
In most cases, abnormal Pap smear results stem from a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as human papillomavirus (HPV) or herpes. They can also stem from a yeast or bacterial infection.
What happens if the results indicate cancer
If your abnormal cervical cells lead to a cancer diagnosis, we discuss your next steps. If you aren’t experiencing other signs of cervical cancer, such as vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain after sex, or watery discharge that may have a foul odor, there’s a good chance your cancer is in an early stage — and early-stage cancers are much more treatable than later-stage cancers.
To learn more about abnormal Pap smears and get the care you need, call Eve Medical of Miami or request an appointment through our website.