Before the Pap smear became a regular part of your women’s health exam, cervical cancer was the most common cause of cancer death in women in the United States. An abnormal Pap smear may leave you feeling very concerned, but it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. At his private practice Hany H Ahmed, MD in Houston, Texas, Dr. Ahmed specializes in the management of abnormal Pap smears and can explain what your results mean and what you need to do next. To schedule an appointment with the board-certified OB/GYN, call the office or book online today.
A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a routine cervical cancer screening tool. Dr. Ahmed collects a sample of cervical cells during your pelvic exam and sends them to a lab for testing.
Women should start getting Pap smears when they become sexually active, with repeated screenings every year or as directed by Dr. Ahmed. Regular routine Pap smears help find abnormal cervical cells early, which may improve your chances of preventing or curing cervical cancer.
An abnormal Pap smear doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. However, it does mean abnormal cervical cells were found. Types of cell abnormalities include:
ASCUS means your cervical cells are slightly abnormal and may indicate you have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This is the most common cause of an abnormal Pap smear.
LSIL means your cervical cells are mildly abnormal and likely caused by an HPV infection that will resolve on its own.
HSIL suggests you may have precancerous or cancerous cell changes.
Atypical squamous cells mean abnormal cells were found and may indicate HSIL.
Glandular cells are another type of cell found in your cervix and uterus. Atypical glandular cells may be signs of precancerous or cancerous cells.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear, Dr. Ahmed may request additional testing to provide more information about what your test means. He may recommend a second Pap smear or an HPV test.
Dr. Ahmed may also recommend a colposcopy, which is an in-office exam that uses a magnifying device to evaluate your cervical tissue. If abnormalities are found, Dr. Ahmed takes a biopsy of the tissue for additional testing.
If your tests indicate abnormal cervical cells, Dr. Ahmed performs a cryotherapy procedure if those abnormal cells from the colposcopy are present. During the procedure, Dr. Ahmed uses an instrument to freeze the abnormal tissue, which your body then sheds.
An abnormal Pap smear is alarming, but also life-saving. For expert care after an abnormal Pap smear, contact Hany H Ahmed, MD by phone or book an appointment online today.