My Pap Smear Results were Abnormal—What Now?

You got your pap smear like you were supposed to and hoped everything would come back negative/normal. Unfortunately, you found out your results were positive/abnormal. Don’t panic; this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. What it does mean is that you need to undergo more tests to find out exactly what’s going on. 

Dr. Daniel S. Kushner and the rest of his team at our White Plains and New York City offices want to make sure you get all the information you need about your pap smear test results and know which, if any, further tests or treatments will be required of you. 

What does it mean when my results are abnormal?

The most basic meaning behind abnormal pap smear results is that cell growth on your cervix is not normal; the test indicated the presence of cells that are not normally found in this area. This can be a bit of a scare to learn, but remember, more tests still need to be done to confirm exactly what these abnormal cells are and why they’re there.

In most cases, the cell growth or changes in cell structure are a result of contracting HPV, the human papilloma virus. This is a common sexually transmitted infection that causes changes to the cells in and around your cervix. While HPV can be linked to cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. Most of the time, signs of abnormal cells caused by HPV are easily treatable and never amount to anything more.  

Which tests will I need?

When Dr. Kushner sees an abnormal pap smear result, even if he might suspect the cause is HPV, he will probably need to do a colposcopy to be sure. This is a test that is very similar to a pap smear, except Dr. Kushner will use a tool called a colposcope to look at your cervix. The tool has a light and a lens at the end of it, so he can see the cells more clearly. The test also involves wiping the cervix with vinegar, which causes the abnormal cells to react and turn white.

If Dr. Kushner notices that there are many areas that react to the vinegar, he might also call for a biopsy. This is a test that requires him to take a sample of the abnormal cells in your cervix and then send the sample to a lab. Doctors at the lab will be able to determine which type of abnormal cells have been found.

How serious is an abnormal pap smear?

Sometimes, an abnormal pap smear can mean absolutely nothing. After all, this is only a screening test, so some abnormal results, especially if they are mild, can turn out to be nothing more than an anomaly. However, pap smears that show more severe results are usually a sign that something is wrong and requires attention. 

As stated previously, though, this does not necessarily mean you have cancer or even that your cells are precancerous. It’s important to work with Dr. Kushner at this stage and undergo further tests to stay on top of the issue. If it is cancer, the doctor can refer you to an oncologist who can help you further.

Would you like to schedule a pap smear or another test with Dr. Kushner?

We are happy to accommodate your needs as well as answer your questions about pap smears and other gynecological tests. Please call 914-236-5175 for our White Plains office or 917-341-5419 for our New York office. You can also book an appointment online.

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