The Pap smear test reporting ASCUS (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance) is a major concern in cervical cancer screening.
A Pap test resulting ASCUS refers to a mild abnormality in the cervix.
Most of the Pap-detected mild abnormalities go away without any treatment.
As Pap smear may not clarify the abnormality until cancer has developed, the doctor cannot make sure which abnormality go away and which is more serious (pre-cancer or cancer) for treatment [Cervical cancer treatment].
Fortunately, now there is a test called HPV test, which helps clarify the Pap smear-detected abnormalities and the necessity of treatment. It also provides helpful information that can decide how soon the next Pap test should be and the need of other tests.
HPV Test To Detect The Risk Of Developing Cervical Cancer:
HPV test (Human Papillomavirus Test) is also known as a high-risk HPV test. The HPV test is performed on a sample of cells collected from the cervix.
This test makes use of advanced, automated technology to detect the presence of high risk or oncogenic strains of HPV virus, the primary underlying factor in the development of cervical cancer.
The oncogenic strains of HPV virus in the body develop cervical cell changes, which can be determined as abnormal changes on a Pap smear test. Most of these abnormal changes in the cervix resolve on their own with no need of treatment.
However, certain cervical cell changes when left untreated can develop to serious conditions and in turn can develop into cervical cancer over time.
The HPV test is primarily done to check for the DNA, the genetic material of the human papillomavirus that is present in the body. The HPV test is recommended for women whose Pap test results in abnormal cervical cells called atypical squamous cells (ASC).
The Digene HPV Test, the FDA-approved HPV test, provides information about the presence of high-risk strains of the HPV virus.
Know Your HPV Test Results!
The HPV test results can take a minimum of one or two weeks to come back. The test result can be normal or abnormal.
The HPV test result showing ‘normal’ represents that no high risk or oncogenic HPV strains found. It means that you probably have no precancerous cervical cells changes and the risk of developing cervical cancer is low.
The HPV test result showing ‘abnormal’ represents that high risk HPV strains are found. The presence of high risk HPV can increase the chances of having precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix as well as the risk of developing cervical cancer.
If your HPV test shows abnormal and your Pap test result is normal, the physician then recommends further testing of both Pap and HPV in 6-12 months. If your HPV infection is still active and your Pap is now abnormal, other test called a colposcopy is recommended to determine the presence of cancerous cells.
If your HPV test shows abnormal, and Pap test result is abnormal (ASC-US), the physician recommends an immediate need of a colposcopy exam for early detection of cancerous cells in the cervix.
Getting through the Pap test and the HPV test regularly can highly prevent the development of cervical cancer!