If you are reading this, chances are you or someone close to you has been told they have an abnormal pap smear. You may or may not have had the opportunity to speak with your Doctor about the results and are likely worried. An abnormal pap smear may or may not result in further treatment, it depends on what the abnormal pap smear says. How worried should you be at this point about an abnormal pap smear? The first step is understanding what an abnormal pap smear means.
Abnormal Pap Smear Result; ASCUS
ASCUS stands for atypical squamous cells of unknown significance. This means that the cells in your cervix have had some mild changes of an unknown amount that may be due to infection. Normally, the treatment for an abnormal pap smear that comes back as ASCUS is; repeat the pap smear in 4-6 months (many times these mild changes resolve on their own). Occasionally, if your abnormal pap smear is positive for certain strains of HPV and ASCUS, you may be scheduled for a colposcopy or biopsy to examine the cervix further (ACOG, 2009).
Abnormal Pap smear Result; LGSIL
LGSIL stands for low-grade squamous intraepithilial lesions. This means that abnormal cells have been found in about 1/3 of the cells in the lining of your cervix. Mild dysplasia CIN I is another term that may show up on this abnormal pap smear lab report. Your Doctor may chose to do a colposcopy or biopsy to examine the cervix further or your Doctor may have you follow up with pap smears every few months. CIN I, like ASCUS, may be caused by a virus and often clears up on its own without treatment. If your Doctor orders repeat pap smears, you will likely have pap smears every 3-6 months until you no longer have abnormal pap smear results (ACOG, 2009).
Abnormal Pap smear Result; HGSIL
HGSIL stands for high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. HGSIL is classified into two categories: CIN II or moderate dysplasia means that about 2/3 or less of the lining of your cervix is comprised of abnormal cells, CIN III or severe dysplasia means that 2/3 or more of the lining of your cervix is comprised of abnormal cells. In any case, if your abnormal pap smear shows HGSIL, a treatment will most likely be prescribed by your Doctor. HGSIL result on an abnormal pap smear does not mean that you have cancer but these results mean that your cells are highly likely to turn into cancer if left untreated (ACOG, 2009). Abnormal pap smear results that come back HGSIL CIN II or CIN III may be treated with various procedures that should be discussed with your Doctor.
This Information should not take place of evaluation and consultation with your Doctor.
ACOG, (2009). Understanding abnormal pap test results. Retrieved June 8, 2009, from ACOG Web site: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp161.cfm