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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > PAP Smear: Results and Values

PAP Smear

Alternate Names : Pap Test, Papanicolaou Test, Pap Screening

PAP Smear | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

A healthy Pap smear shows no abnormal cells or evidence of inflammation. The presence of abnormally growing cells on the surface of the cervix may be reported as an abnormal PAP smear. Categories of cell changes include:

  • ASCUS (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance)
  • AGUS (atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance)
  • LSIL (low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion-possible HPV or CIN I)
  • CIN I (mild dysplasia)
  • CIN II (moderate dysplasia)
  • HSIL (high grade squamous lesions, CIN II, CIN III, CIS)
  • CIN III (severe dysplasia)
  • IS (carcinoma in situ)
  • All of these categories describe different degrees of abnormal cells. Not all mean that a woman has or will develop cervical cancer. However, a woman should follow up with her doctor if her Pap smear results are abnormal. All these changes are within the top layer of the cervix. The cancer has not spread more deeply into the cervix or to other organs.

    A woman who has had two or more abnormal Pap smears (ASCUS, CIN I, or HPV changes) should undergo colposcopy. This is a test in which the cervix is viewed with a special lighted microscope. A cervical biopsy may also be needed. This involves taking a small tissue sample from the cervix. The sample is examined further to find the cause of the abnormal cells.

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    PAP Smear: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: David T. Moran, MD
    Reviewer: Melinda Murray Ratini, DO
    Date Reviewed: 08/15/02

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