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A 22-year-old member asked:

How fast can an abnormal pap transform into cervical cancer, how long does one typically have before this happens?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marianne DiNapoli
Dr. Marianne DiNapolianswered
Obstetrics and Gynecology 9 years experience
Depends-"abnormal": There is a wide range of abnormal pap smear results. Some tests come back showing you have a virus called hpv which is extremely common in sexually active women. Pap smears can also show that the cells of the cervix themselves are abnormal, showing pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Since "abnormal" can mean so many things, the time to turn into cancer will vary.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Chakshu Gupta
Pathology 24 years experience
Depends on degree: Abnormal pap smears may have mild, moderate or severe atypical cells. If mild, about 62% will go away, 22% will persist & 16% become more severe. If the cells are severe and remain so after biopsy & treatment the risk of cervical cancer is 25 times higher. It may take 5 years it more to progress to cancer so extended follow up with your doctor is suggested.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Jun 24, 2016

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