> Atypical cell Pap smear
Atypical cell Pap smear
There exist different conditions that may entail atypical cell Pap smear. Pap smear is widely used to detect cervical cell abnormalities which can be associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer. This test also gives an opportunity to evaluate cervical tissues state and identify genital infectious diseases. There are also other diagnostic procedures, like colposcopy and biopsy that provide a more accurate diagnosis than Pap smear if atypical cells are detected on the cervix.
Sometimes the results of Pap smear may be false positive or false negative. False positive result means that the doctor classified by mistake the smear as abnormal, but in fact atypical cells are absent. False negative result signifies that atypical cell Pap smear was misclassified as normal because abnormalities have gone undetected. False results may occur if the woman has had sexual contacts or used vaginal medication within 48 hours before the test.
There are a lot of reasons for atypical cell Pap smear. In the majority of cases a Pap smear will come back normal within several months without any treatment. Different viral and bacterial infections can cause an inflammatory reaction that may induce cellular abnormalities. Patients with cervical infections often require specific treatment, after which atypical cells disappear. Hormonal changes during menopause may also trigger abnormalities in the cervical cells.
A woman may have an atypical cell Pap smear because she develops cervical dysplasia. Dysplasia is a precancerous condition which can lead to cancer within several years. Cervical dysplasia is diagnosed by colposcopy and biopsy which helps to evaluate the size and depth of the lesions. Cervical dysplasia may be mild, moderate and severe. Most mild dysplasias regress naturally and don’t require treatment. Moderate and severe dysplastic lesions are usually removed by surgery. If dysplasia is untreated there is a greater risk of cancer.
In the majority of cases women with cervical dysplasia are infected by HPV. Cervical dysplasia which is associated with certain HPV types, classified as high risk types, is more likely to progress in cancer. Almost all patients with cervical cancer have HPV infection with high risk types of HPV. Women having an atypical cell Pap smear should be tested for HPV because it allows evaluation of their risk for cervical cancer.