Abnormal Pap Smear Test in South Florida

Cervical Cancer Screening

A Pap test, more commonly known as a Pap smear, is a screening test for cervical cancer, and now includes the detection for Human Papilloma Virus, alone or through co-testing.

Generally recommended for women age 25 and older, HPV testing and/or a Pap smear is performed by a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN); when abnormal, the results can be evaluated by a board-certified gynecologist oncologist in the office in conjunction with a pelvic exam.

For high-risk women with certain risk factors, an annual Pap smear may be recommended.

What is a Pap smear?

Routinely performed during your annual pelvic exams, a Pap smear is a simple test where a small swab sample of cells is taken from your cervix and sent to the lab. The lab results indicate the presence or absence of abnormal cells, or HPV.

What does an abnormal Pap smear mean?

An abnormal Pap smear does not automatically indicate cervical cancer. There are incidences of false positive results. Abnormal cells could also be a sign of:

  • Normal cell changes
  • Inflammation related to a cervical or vaginal infection
  • The presence of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) or herpes
  • The presence of precancerous cells

However, an abnormal Pap smear indicates the need for further testing.

What happens after an abnormal Pap test?

Surgical staging is a crucial step in determining the exact treatment plan. Most women with ovarian cancer will have some type of surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is provided at The Center for Gynecologic Oncology which offers a unique advantage to both the patient and the physician. The advantage for patients being managed by a gynecologic oncologist is that they are experts in gynecologic cancers (especially ovarian cancer) and due to their subspecialized training, will also provide both surgical removal of the tumor and coordinate, administer, and manage complications of chemotherapy treatment. Depending on the type of ovarian cancer and how advanced it is, you might need other types of treatment, including radiation.

What happens after an abnormal Pap test?

If your Pap smear results are abnormal, your best option is to schedule an appointment with a board-certified gynecologist oncologist. A colposcopy is generally recommended as a way to take a closer examination of the cervix using a speculum and special lens. Your gynecologist oncologist may take a sample of the tissue for testing and send it to the lab for a biopsy.

Biopsy results can vary from low-grade, unlikely to develop into cervical cancer, and moderate-to-high grade, posing a greater risk for cervical cancer. For low-grade biopsy results, our policy is usually to wait, watch, and monitor. For moderate to high grade results, your doctors may recommend removing the cervical tissue by performing a cold knife cone biopsy or a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). Removing the abnormal cells may prevent cervical cancer from developing.

Regular screenings with Pap and HPV tests as well as receiving the HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer.

At the Center for Gynecologic Oncology, we have seen firsthand how cervical cancer is both preventable and treatable. As gynecologist oncologists, we are dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date treatments and the best possible outcome.

For more information on Pap smears and cervical cancer, click on our YouTube video.

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