|Cancer Risk |
|Abnormal Cervical Cells | Cancer Cells|
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Abnormal cervical cells are usually indicated in the results of a Pap smear testing. Pap smear is one of the most routinely conducted gynecological test that is often recommended as a part of annual physical exams and wellness tests for women. However, it should be understood that some abnormal cervical cells in a Pap smear doesn't always suggest cervical cancer. This misconception is largely present among women who are unaware about the detailed procedure that is undertaken for interpreting diagnostic information from pap smears.
An abnormal Pap smear could point towards a host of conditions that are commonly seen during such examinations and aren't even remotely related to a cancerous condition. This includes various types of vaginal infections, particularly the more serious kinds that are indicative of STDs or the presence of HPV. It has also been noticed that some of these abnormal Pap smear readings have the tendency to clear-up once the patient is put on a short schedule of prescribed medications. STDs such as gonorrhea are a commonly-misinterpreted reason for a spike in the number of abnormal cells in the cervix but they aren't suggestive of cervix cancer.
Actual Cervical Cancer Risk
If the Pap smear reading is very abnormal or the concentration of the abnormal cervical cells is extremely high, then it might be a cause for some worry. However, here too, the attending laboratory technicians will specify the kind of cells that have been found in higher concentration. For example, if the higher concentration of abnormal cells consists of a large number of HSIL or squamous intraepithelial lesions, there is a slight chance that cervical cancer may have already taken shape. Similarly, if the cellular dysplasia is easily apparent, cervical cancer is a distant probability. Another indicator during this stage is the presence of either CIN 3 or CIN 2, wherein the likelihood of being diagnosed with cervical cancer rises. However, even after the presence of many indicators like these pointing towards the high probability of cervical cancer, a confirmed diagnosis still cannot be made. This is only done after the pap-smear testing is done more regularly and the results are equally or progressively indicative of the suspected cancer. Unless such a pattern develops, diagnosing cervical cancer is almost impossible.
While some attending physicians might merely recommend that the patient returns for more regular pap-smear testing, some might want to make an early visual examination to rule-out the possibility of cervical cancer. This is usually done when there is a higher likelihood of cancer cells being diagnosed or it seems that the visual examination is necessary to help the patient overcome her apprehensions about cervical cancer. The examination includes detailed analysis of the cervix, vulva and the vagina and any other suspected site that may show susceptibility to developing cancerous growth. Colposcopy is the most commonly conducted visual examination for this purpose. It is deemed equally effective for identifying pre-cancerous cells or developed lesions.
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