So, you have gone to your Gynecologist for your regularly scheduled Pap test and the results have come back abnormal. You might be wondering what this means and what is the next step. The first thing to remember is not to panic. An abnormal Pap test does not automatically mean that you have cervical cancer. It simply means that the test has detected abnormal cells on your cervix. In many cases, cell changes on the cervix are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. There are several different types of HPV, some of which can lead to cervical cancer. In many cases, there are no symptoms and many people do not know that they have become infected. That is why getting regular Pap tests are so important for women.
If you have an abnormal Pap test, your Gynecologist may recommend that the test be repeated after a certain amount of time. In many cases, HPV will clear up on its own. If it does not clear up on its own and you receive more than one abnormal test, or if the cell changes are severe, your Gynecologist may recommend a procedure to remove the abnormal cells from your cervix. This is done to prevent the development of cervical cancer. There are several different methods that can be used to remove abnormal cells from the cervix including cryosurgery (freezing of the cells) and laser surgery. In many cases, this procedure can be performed in a physician’s office using a local anesthetic.
Early detection is the best tool we currently have in the fight against cervical cancer and other serious medical problems affecting women. If you have not visited your doctor for a routine Pap test or if it has been a while since you have had one, schedule an appointment today.