Getting the phone call from a doctor saying your Pap smear came back with abnormal results is frightening. It's important to realize that this doesn't mean you have cancer, but it does mean that further testing is necessary. Dr. Kompal Gadh, at the Advanced OBGYN Institute in Weston and Pembroke Pines, Florida, are board certified OB/GYNs who can assist women with any testing necessary after an abnormal Pap smear. Stay calm and trust that you’re in experienced hands during this uncertain time.
Many women think that an abnormal Pap smear means they have cancer. This isn't true. While it can indicate cancer, a Pap identifies pre-cancerous cells that may indicate further treatment is necessary. An abnormal Pap smear simply means the doctor found abnormalities in the cervical cells. In fact, because it can detect precancerous cells before cancer develops, the Pap smear is a life-saving test, because getting treatment before cancer develops will save lives.
Most women who have an abnormal Pap have the human papillomavirus, or HPV. This is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause changes to the cervical cells. Many HPV infections go away on their own without causing symptoms, but some will develop into cancer. Sometimes the changes are caused by yeast or bacteria infections, both of which can be treated.
If a woman comes to the Advanced OBGYN Institute for a Pap smear, and the results are inconclusive, Dr. Gadh will typically schedule a repeat test. They may request an HPV test along with the Pap smear to rule out HPV. If this still brings unclear or inconclusive results, they will likely request a colposcopy, in which a microscope and light are used to inspect the cervix. If this still shows suspicions of a problem, then the team will take a biopsy during the colposcopy procedure.
Abnormal cells that aren't cancerous can be removed surgically in a procedure called a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) or destroyed through cryosurgery (freezing). Destroying or removing the cells often prevents the development of cervical cancer.
If the testing and biopsy find cancer, Dr. Gadh will refer the patient to an oncologist for further testing and treatment. Most women who have Pap smear testing done regularly can have the abnormal cells treated before they develop into cancer, which is why the Advanced OBGYN Institute is so passionate about regular testing. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should have a Pap smear every 3 years. Women who are due for a Pap smear or who have had an abnormal Pap should call the Advanced OBGYN Institute for testing.
At Advanced OB / GYN Institute, we accept most major insurance plans. Please contact our office if you do not see your provider listed.
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