9 doctors weighed in:
I have had an abnormal pap smear what does that mean?
9 doctors weighed in

Marianne DiNapoli
Obstetrics & Gynecology
7 doctors agree
In brief: It depends.
A pap smear is a test used to screen for cervical cancer, where a doc takes a sample of cells from the cervix.
There is a wide range of abnormal results. Some pap 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.

In brief: It depends.
A pap smear is a test used to screen for cervical cancer, where a doc takes a sample of cells from the cervix.
There is a wide range of abnormal results. Some pap 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.
Marianne DiNapoli
Marianne DiNapoli
Answer assisted by Marianne Di Napoli, Medical Student
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Marina Maslovaric
HPV is very common and usually goes away by itself. Majority of women will have an HPV infection in their life, but nothing will happen. Small percentage of women develop a higher grade infection which then persists and carries a small risk of cancer. It is important to maintain PAP schedule as recommended by your doctor to keep regular surveillance. HPV is common- cervical cancer is very rare !
Dr. Michael Opsahl
Fertility Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Abnormal pap
The pap smear has been one of the greatest benefits to women's health because it shows cells that may become cancer in 10-20 years if not treated.
The pap also shows other findings like infection and virus (we think that hpv is the most important cause of cervical cancer). Occasionally, the pap will also show abnormal cells from the uterine lining, tubes or ovaries but rarely. Good luck.

In brief: Abnormal pap
The pap smear has been one of the greatest benefits to women's health because it shows cells that may become cancer in 10-20 years if not treated.
The pap also shows other findings like infection and virus (we think that hpv is the most important cause of cervical cancer). Occasionally, the pap will also show abnormal cells from the uterine lining, tubes or ovaries but rarely. Good luck.
Dr. Michael Opsahl
Dr. Michael Opsahl
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Dennis Higginbotham
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
26 years in practice
49M people helped
Continue
107,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors