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My Pap Smear Was Abnormal - Now What?

If you’re a woman aged 21-65, you should probably have a Pap test every three to five years, depending on your exact age and other factors. No one looks forward to a Pap test, but it’s an important tool for detecting and successfully treating cervical cancer. 

At the Fertility and Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay, our board-certified OB/GYN, Edward J. Rameriz, MD, and our staff are dedicated to helping women remain healthy, and part of that includes the appropriate screening tests at regular intervals. 

Don’t risk advanced cervical cancer. Get your Pap smear on schedule. 

We do the Pap smear in our office, then send your sample off to a lab for analysis. Your results are either normal or abnormal. We discuss the results with you and the next steps if your test was abnormal. 

Reasons for an abnormal result

It usually takes up to three weeks for the results of a Pap test to return to our office. We call to tell you if yours are normal or abnormal. If your results are normal, you don’t need any additional treatments or tests. 

If your result is abnormal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. It could, but it could also be because of the following factors: 

We recommend that you come in for a follow-up appointment during which we do additional screenings to determine the reason for your abnormal result. We may recommend that you have more frequent Pap tests so we can monitor your cervical cells closely. 

Risk of developing cervical cancer

People who have untreated human papillomavirus (HPV) have a greater risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, which we can test for. Many women get HPV tests at the same time as their Pap test. 

If you have HPV, getting treatment lowers your risk of cervical cancer. 

Treatments after an abnormal Pap test

Usually, we recommend consistent and careful monitoring of the cells of your cervix, to make sure there’s no cancerous growth. In some cases we perform a procedure called a colposcopy to confirm whether you have precancerous or cancerous cells. 

If the colposcopy results indicate it, we then recommend a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. The next step is to treat the cancerous cells and prevent any further development. 

If it’s been a while since your last Pap test, or you have reason to be concerned about your risk of developing cervical cancer, book your appointment with us today. You can schedule online or simply call us.

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