According to the US National Cancer Institute, about 12000 women are with cervical cancer.
In the United States, cervical cancer is the 8th most common gynecologic cancers.
Pap smear test – the only screening test for cervical cancer – is recommended for all women to detect any abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus.
Pap smear test, also known as Pap test or cervical test, is a medical screening test to detect the early stages of cancer of the cervix.
It is only a screening tool and not a diagnosing procedure. In other words, the test cannot diagnose cervical cancer completely. The test is best and efficient to prevent cervical cancer.
How Pap test is conducted?
The Pap smear test is quick and simple process in which speculum, a small instrument, is inserted into the vagina to spread the vaginal walls so as to make the cervix more visible.
Using a small brush, the cells of the cervix are collected and spread onto a glass slide. The cell sample glass slide will be sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope.
Test Results: The results of Pap smear test usually available within two to three weeks. Most of the laboratories use a standard system called The Bethesda System (TBS) to report the results.
In this system, the Pap smear test samples that contain no cell abnormalities are reported as negative for malignancy. It requires no treatment.
The Pap test samples that contain cell abnormalities are reported as positive. The cell abnormalities are reported according to their categories.
ASC – Atypical Squamous Cells: A difference in the squamous cells of the cervix can turn out atypical squamous cells. The squamous cells are the thin, flat epithelial cells that line the surface of the cervix. The atypical squamous cells, according to the, Bethesda System, are classified into two categories:
ASC–US: An acronym for atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. A Pap smear test report with ASC-US is considered mildly abnormal. HPV test, Pap test (repeat), colposcopy and biopsy, and estrogen cream are required tests and treatments for the condition.
ASC–H: An acronym for atypical squamous cells cannot exclude a high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. Test result reporting ASC–H may be considered at high risk of being precancerous. Colposcopy and biopsy is needed for diagnosing the condition.
LSIL – Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion: Early changes in the shape and sizes of the squamous cells on the surface of the cervix refer to low-grade abnormal cells. The abnormal growth of the cells refers to dysplasia.
Pap smear test reporting LSIL are referred to be mild abnormality. Colposcopy and biopsy are preferred tests after two Pap tests to treat the condition.
HSIL: High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion: More noticeable changes in the size and shape of the abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix refer to high-grade abnormal cells. The result of Pap smear test indicates a more severe abnormality and can progress to invasive cancer.
A colposcopy procedure is referred to treat the condition. It is 100 % curable with LEEP, cryotherapy, laser therapy, conization, and/or hysterectomy.
AGC – Atypical Glandular Cells: The difference in the glandular cells of the endocervical canal can turn into atypical glandular cells. Glandular cells are the mucus-producing cells in the endocervical canal, the opening in the center of the cervix.
Colposcopy and biopsy and endo-cervical curettage are required tests and treatment for this condition of pap smear test.
AIS – Adenocarcinoma In Situ: The presence of precancerous cells in the glandular tissue is considered to be an adenocarcinoma in situ. Colposcopy and biopsy and endocervical curettage are essential tests to treat the condition.
The Pap smear test resulting positive (cell abnormalities) doesn’t mean that the cells are cancerous. With appropriate tests and treatment, the cell abnormalities can be controlled easily.