ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Interpret Your Cervical/Pap Smear Results

Updated on September 14, 2014
jlpark profile image

Jacqui is an RCompN in New Zealand, with 15+ years of experience. She writes on a number of health topics that she has experience in.

Bad News? Not Necessarily!
Bad News? Not Necessarily! | Source

Abnormal Results Do Not Necessarily Mean Cancer!

Today's hub is on the types of results you can get from a cervical smear, and what these mean.

The most important thing to remember is that most (90+%) results are not cancer - they are PRECANCEROUS changes - so, essentially, changes that could lead eventually to cancer in 10-15yrs if you do nothing about them

Low Grade Smear
Low Grade Smear | Source

A few things to start with

Countries around the world differ slightly in the way that they present results of Cervical/Pap smears. There is either the Bethseda system or another one whose name I've never actually known!. I will try to explain as clearly as I can, however, I am writing from a New Zealand perspective in regards to what I call the results.

Most cervical changes are caused by a virus - HPV or Human Papillioma Virus - or the "Warts Virus". Yes. the same one that causes the warts on your hands, or genital warts. However, there are hundreds of strains of this virus, so different ones cause warts on your hands, to the ones 'down there', to the ones that cause cervical changes.

Genital warts are caused by strains 6 and 11, Cervical Changes by approximately 40 different strains - the most common (and Highest Risk) are 16 and 18. Yes, it's an STI - but it's much like the common cold - if you've had sex, you've usually got it at some point in your life, and this is accurate for about 70% of the population

Results and What They Mean

  • Normal - this is a good one! There is no evidence of maligancy in the cells collected from your cervix. Continue on with recommended regular screening as recommended by your healthcare provider
  • ASCUS - Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance - So, these cells are a little unusual looking, but not unusual enough to be deemed "Low Grade" - usually you will need to have your next smear a little earlier than usual, unless you've had a previous ASCUS, Low Grade, or High Grade.
  • LSIL - Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion - Sounds scary - this is just a low grade change. Often this is the presence of the HPV virus (discussed earlier), and if you have two of these in a space of 5 yrs, you may be referred to Colposcopy - which is just more specialised test really (see below). If it's the first one, you'll be asked to have your next smear sooner than usual.
  • ASC-H/ASCUS?H - Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance ?High Grade. - So, these are odd looking cells again, that don't quite fit in the Low Grade area, but don't quite reach the High Grade level. They also don't fit the ASCUS level. This still isn't cancer. What happens now is that you will be referred to Colposcopy for a closer look, even if it is your first result of ASC-H. Don't panic - it's not as scary as you think - I promise.
  • HSIL - High Grade Squamous Intraepithilial Lesion - STILL not cancer. These are higher grade lesions, that are not cancer, but the space between the nucleus of the cell, and the outside is very small, given that the nucleus of the abnormal cell is big. This needs treatment, so you will be referred to Colposcopy.
  • AIS - Adenocarcinoma in situ - This one isn't yet cancer either, but is as much like HSIL, except is usually found further up the canal of the cervix. This also requires colposcopy. There are slightly more invasive treatment options for this if confirmed on biopsy - but at this point, it is no reason to panic.
  • ? Invasive Carcinoma/SCC/Adenocarcinoma - This is supicious cancer. However, on a smear result this is usually reported as ? invasive - as this CANNOT BE CONFIRMED until you have had a Colposcopy and biopsy.

Colposcopy

Colposcope
Colposcope | Source

What Now?

Colposcopy is not as scary as it may seem, or sound. It is also necessary - to ensure the accuracy of the results, provide a diagnosis and treatment plan, and treatment.

Many of the abnormal results can be removed easily with a procedure done at the same time as a follow up colposcopy, before they turn into malignant cells.

But remember:

HAVE YOUR SMEAR DONE! You are WORTH it!

Cervical Smears

Have you had an abnormal result?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)