An abnormal Pap test shows that cells in the cervix have
changed from a normal to an abnormal appearance. Only a small number of
abnormal Pap test results are cell changes that may progress to cervical
cancer. Abnormal cell changes of the cervix rarely cause symptoms. So it is
important to have regular Pap tests to find cell changes.
test is done to look for changes in the cells of the cervix. During a Pap test,
a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix is collected by a
doctor. The sample is then spread or smeared on a slide (Pap smear) or mixed in
a liquid and sent to a lab to be examined under a microscope.
Many abnormal Pap tests are caused by an infection of human
papillomavirus (HPV) that will go away on its own and will not lead to cancer.
There are several choices for managing minor cervical cell
changes. One of your choices may be watchful waiting. Treatments for moderate to severe
cell changes destroy or remove the abnormal tissue.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.