Evaluation & Treatment of Abnormal Pap & Cervical Disease

pap smear

What is a Pap Smear?

A pap smear is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening of the uterus. Your doctor will obtain samples of the cervical cells during your gynecological exam. The doctor will use a tool called a spatula to briefly scrape away some cells and then send them to a laboratory for close evaluation.

Who Should Have a Pap Smear

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends all women age 21 and over have a routine yearly Pap smear screening. This test is a crucial part of a maintaining your gynecological health. It is a cancer screening test with very accurate results that detect the presence of abnormal cells that have the potential to become cancerous. Early detection of precancerous cells offers patients a greater chance of preventing the disease or being cured.  

What Does an Abnormal Pap Smear Results Mean

Abnormal Pap smear results DON’T ALWAYS MEAN CANCER. It simply means that there are abnormal cells on your cervix, some of which could be precancerous. Sometimes yeast infections or other vaginal infections can trigger inflammation causing cervical cells to appear atypical. Depending on what the test results show, your doctor may recommend increasing the frequency of your Pap smears, or getting a closer look at your cervical tissue with a procedure called colposcopy.

Treatment of Abnormal Pap Smear

Once your Pap smear cells have been collected, your doctor will send the sample to a laboratory. The lab will view the cells through magnification and determine if any abnormalities are present. The results will be sent to you and your doctor. New River Women’s Health will always follow up with patients after an abnormal Pap test result is issued. You may need more tests to find out if you have an infection or the severity of the cell changes. There are classifications of abnormal cells including:

  • Minor cell changes
  • Moderate to severe cell changes

Depending on your results, we offer procedures that can remove or destroy cells before they become cancerous.  

Cervical Disease

The cervix is the opening to the uterus, often referred to as the neck of the womb. There are many different conditions that can affect the cervix, ranging from mild inflammation to cervical cancer. These conditions can cause different symptoms, such as abnormal bleeding from your vagina, or may not cause any symptoms at all. Some conditions are normal and do not need any treatment. The type of treatment you need will depend on the underlying condition. Your doctor will be able to discuss with you the most appropriate treatment for you.