But, there’s no reason to press the panic button as nearly all abnormal Pap smear test outcomes aren’t due to cancer, and every problem needs therapy and those who do require it could be treated ably. Pap smear test is an uncomplicated, express and comparatively painless approach to screen for any irregularly in cervical cells.
Abnormal Pap Smear – The common Sly Culprit
Nearly all irregular Pap smear outcomes are due to the HPV virus and anybody who’s sexually active could be having it. Almost 80% of individuals who’ve engaged in sexual intercourse would be carriers of the virus at some stage in their lifetime.
Mostly, the virus self-subsides in 12 to 24 months. Rarely, when not detected, HPV could be leading to cancer of the cervix in a decade or so. An annually done pap smear can spot HPV that could then be observed and treatment offered in some cases for preventing cancer.
Deciphering Abnormal Pap Smear Results
The medical terminology deployed for describing abnormal Pap smear outcomes and suggested management strategies are elucidated herewith.
Low Grade Abnormalities In Pap Smear
In most likelihood, the woman is infected with HPV which she might have contracted lately or several months/years back. Oftentimes, the body innately gets rid of HPV after which the Pap smear result too normalizes.
Among a miniscule population of females the sexually-spread virus fails in clearing up on its own and persists in the cervical region. There’s a possibility that the abnormality might turn cancerous in due course of time when left untreated. In such females monitoring via repeated testing ensures that infection has cleared or whether a colposcopy is needed when repeat testing reveals persistent irregularity. Majority of females having a low grade abnormality would not require a colposcopy exam.
Colposcopy resembles Pap test as speculum examination is done of the cervical region, though additionally a microscope-affixed device is deployed for getting a clearer view of the cervix. This examination is generally for confirming existence of low grade abnormalities which don’t require therapy.
Annual monitoring by physicians is done till Pap test outcome normalizes. You might come across the term LSIL (low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) or CIN-1 (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) that means preliminary alterations or slight HPV-caused abnormality in the size and form of surface cells in the cervical region.
High Grade Abnormalities In Pap Smear
In all probability, the woman might be HPV infected and the virus has lasted in the body and been causal to an irregularity. Such a result must not be misconstrued to be cancer, though colposcopy would be recommended for corroboratory purposes. Biopsy procedure is needed when colposcopy verifies high grade abnormalities.
HSIL (or High Grade Cervical Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion) is a term used in such case to indicate medium to acute abnormality of cervical cells which is apparent in the Pap test. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or CIN-(2 or 3 or 2/3) indicates that the premalignant cells have occupied a greater part of the layers of cervical lining.
Squamous Cell Abnormalities In Pap Smear
This is the commonest result in Pap smears. Squamous cells are lean, flattish cells forming the cervical surface. Abbreviations deployed for this result is ASC-US (atypical squamous cells of unidentified significance) which means that the squamous cells have some aberration though there’s uncertainty on what it implies and ASC-H (atypical squamous cells though HSIL can’t be ruled out).
Glandular Abnormalities In Pap Smear
Glandular cells are situated in the cervical canal and not much is known about preliminary alterations in them as compared to alterations in squamous cells that are causal to most of the irregular Pap test outcomes.
Abbreviations used to denote glandular abnormalities include AGC (atypical glandular cells – abnormal cells though uncertainty regarding what they signify) and A/S (pre-malignant cells present in the glandular cells). Colposcopy might not reveal any irregularity however it is likely that the abnormality is invisible and cone biopsy is suggested or observation in the near future recommended.