About 1 in 10 Pap smears show some signs of abnormality, but an abnormal Pap smear doesn’t automatically mean you have cervical cancer. Sovereign Women's Healthcare in Roswell, Georgia, recommends a repeat test or a colposcopy after an abnormal Pap result. For high-quality diagnostic care and treatment, count on Sabrina Harrison, MD, PC, a board-certified OB/GYN. Call today to book a consultation for your Pap test.
Changes in your cervical cells can take 3-7 years to become cancer. Having a Pap smear performed regularly may detect these changes before they turn into cancer.
Rest assured, an abnormal Pap smear result doesn’t automatically mean you have cancer. Sometimes your test may be a false positive, where the results show abnormal cells when the cells are healthy. In other cases, the unusual results may be due to:
Additionally, your cervical cells may go from abnormal back to normal without treatment. Even if this does not happen, it often takes several years for cellular abnormalities to become cancer.
Dr. Harrison may suggest a repeat Pap smear if your initial results showed a slight change in your cervical cells or were unclear. If she needs more information about the type of cellular changes, she may recommend a colposcopy, which allows her to see the cells of your vagina and cervix in detail.
Colposcopy is an in-office procedure where Dr. Harrison uses a small magnifying device to examine your cervix more closely. She also may take tissue samples for testing during the colposcopy.
Similar to your Pap test, Dr. Harrison inserts a speculum. She inserts the colposcope into your vagina, and you may feel some pressure.
She applies a vinegar solution to your cervix to highlight abnormal cells. The solution may cause a slight burning sensation. If she sees suspicious cells, she takes a small tissue sample for testing.
The entire procedure is relatively quick. If you had a biopsy, you might have some spotting and cramps.
When your results are available, Dr. Harrison follows up with you if the test found possible cancerous changes requiring a procedure to remove the abnormal cells.
An abnormal Pap smear doesn't necessarily need to be a cause for alarm. Count on Sovereign Women's Healthcare for high-quality diagnosis and treatment to catch cervical cancer when it’s most treatable. Call today or book a consultation online.