Abnormal cells in pap smear does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. There are a number of reasons why a woman will have some abnormal cells show up. However, cervical cancer is a common reason and is something that your healthcare professional will look into for you.
Benign changes in a pap smear
In fact, cervical cancer is not one of the most common reasons for there to be abnormal cells in pap smear; the most common reason is due to benign changes that happen to the cells. This can be for a variety of reasons and the most common is due to infections.
There are different infections that will affect the cells differently and these will need to be looked into. For example, the herpes simplex virus and normal bacterial infections can have an effect.
Inflammation can also play a part in any abnormal cells that appear, including when the vagina is repairing from any tears – for example from intercourse. The intrauterine contraceptive device, also known as the IUD, can have an effect on the cells since it will change the hormones and may cause inflammation.
The hormones will also play a part in any changes that may be noticed in your pap smear. As you age, your cells will change and these may show up as being abnormal. However, it is completely normal and usually nothing to worry about.
Abnormal cells in pap smear mean cancer
Of course, there are times that the abnormal cells do mean that you have cervical cancer. You will usually go through many different tests to find out whether this is the case. The good news is that this is one form of cancer that can be treated as long as it is caught early, and the pap smear is the best way to do this. In fact, since the pap smear was introduced, the number of deaths because of cervical cancer has decreased dramatically.
A smear test is something that you will usually only need to have done every three years. This will be early enough to pick up cervical cancer, whether it started soon after your previous smear test or just recently. This is something that all women, who are sexually active, will need to have.
Once menopause has been reached, the tests will usually need to be done every two years to check for any abnormal cells. This is because some of the treatments that help with menopause symptoms are linked to female cancers due to the excess estrogen in the body.
The good news is that just because you have abnormal cells in pap smear, it does not mean that you have cancer. There are many natural reasons why someone will develop abnormal cells. This is why there are tests done afterwards and your medical history is also looked into. However, there are times that the cells are cancerous. If you have your smear tests done regularly, there is a very high chance that the cancer can be treated.