Progressive Care for Women
What is a pap smear?
A Pap smear is a screening test to collect and microscopically examine cells taken from the cervix for the presence of infection, inflammation, abnormal cells, and cancer.
A Pap test, along with a pelvic examination, may detect abnormalities that can lead to invasive cancer.
The Pap test is typically performed within the context of your annual gynecological exam, often in conjunction with a pelvic exam and a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common STD (sexually transmitted disease) that has the potential to cause cervical cancer in some women.
The recommended guidelines as to how often a Pap smear should be performed vary depending upon age, medical history, and risk factors; however, it is generally agreed that pap smear testing should begin no later than age 21.
What is an abnormal pap smear?
A Pap smear is performed every couple of years and is used to detect the presence of abnormal cervical cells. It is recommended that the first Pap smear be taken at the first exposure to sexual activity( first contact Pap )
During this screening, cells from the inside & outside of the cervix are scraped and examined under a microscope to check for cancerous and precancerous cells.
If only normal cervical cells are found, then your test results will come back negative. This means you won’t need further testing until your next Pap smear.
However, if you have an abnormal smear result, it means that there were cells found in the cervix that aren’t normal.
Abnormal Smears Explained at KLASS
Taking care of women
Routine gynecological care is designed to protect reproductive health through the early detection of problems such as cervical or ovarian cancer. One of the diagnostic tests performed during the routine gynecology visits is the Pap smear.
Pap smears are always included in your yearly pelvic exam because they screen for gynecologic cancers.
The pap smear specialists at KLASS recommend regular Pap smears because some gynecologic cancers are treatable when found at an early stage.
What are the causes of abnormal smears?
When our patient at KLASS returns a positive result from pap smear testing, this indicates that some of the cells examined look suspicious. Below are some of the causes of abnormal smears.
- Bacterial or vaginal infection.
- Inflammation caused by trichomoniasis, medications, or hormones.
- Recent sexual activity.
- A strain of a sexually transmitted disease known as human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Vaginal abnormalities such as dysplasia (abnormal cells that can be precancerous).
Understanding your pap smear results
The following words explain Pap test results:
- Normal or negative – This means that your cervix is healthy. Your provider will tell you when you need your next Pap test.
- Positive – indicates the presence of abnormal cells, this is a test, not a diagnosis. A positive result does not prove that you have cancer or even dysplasia (a precancerous condition).
- Unsatisfactory – For some reason the sample of cells was not a good sample and can’t be read by the lab technician. Your provider will let you know when the Pap test needs to be repeated.
- Benign changes – This means that your Pap test was basically normal. However, you may have an infection that is causing inflammation of the cervical cells. You may need a pelvic exam to check for the cause of the infection and prescribe treatment if needed.
- ASCUS – (which is short for “Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance”) This simply means there are some funny looking cells on the test and more tests may be done to figure out if HPV (human papillomavirus) is the reason for the changes.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear, you may need further testing to detect the cause of these cellular changes.
Diagnosis of Abnormal Smears
Depending on the specifics, your gynecologist may want to schedule further evaluation which involves tests such as:
- A biopsy may be performed in which the physician removes a small amount of cervical tissue for accurate examination by a pathologist. This is the only sure way to determine whether abnormal cells indicate cancer.
- Colposcopy allows your specialist to achieve an accurate view of the cervix under bright light and microscopic instrumentation. To facilitate a clear view, a solution is applied to the cervix at the onset of the procedure in our office. A colposcopy is similar to the Pap smear in terms of positioning and viewing, the difference is that a small amount of tissue is removed.
How are abnormal smears treated?
KLASS will first determine the appropriate test(s) to perform depending upon your previous history of Pap smears, the specific results of your most recent Pap smear, and any factors that predispose you to the development of cervical cancer.
If the abnormal cells are persisting, you may need further treatment, which may include the following:
- Cone biopsy is a procedure in which a triangle of cervical tissue is removed including the abnormal cells; this is either performed in a doctor’s office or as an outpatient procedure. Bleeding and watery discharge are common after this treatment.
- Cryosurgery, or freezing of the abnormal cells, is usually performed in an office set up. The disadvantage of this technique is that the tissue is destroyed and cannot be subjected to histological evaluation.
- The LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) or LLETZ (Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone ) procedure is similar to a cone biopsy, but a loop-shaped instrument is used to remove the abnormal area. Bleeding and discharge may occur for a few days.
- HPV test to check for the presence of the HPV virus types most likely to cause cervical cancer.
Abnormal Smear Treatment at KLASS
Experts at Kenya Laparoscopic Surgery Services take pride in providing a superior level of patient care and clinical expertise in a compassionate and comfortable environment.
As a patient at KLASS, you will experience an unparalleled level of attentiveness and responsiveness—we will always make time to thoroughly address every question and concern you might have and will work tirelessly to ensure that your experience is a positive one.
We also schedule check-ups following treatment. They are necessary to make sure all the abnormal cells are gone and the cervix has healed. We also advise as to how often our patients will need to have routine Pap smears.
Abnormal Smears Follow Up & Treatment With Prof. Rafique Parkar
Advanced and effective care
Prof. Rafique Parkar pioneered Minimal Access Surgery in Africa 25 years ago and operates at the highest level of expertise in Africa. ( Level VI )
He is committed to improving the lifestyles of women in Kenya and the world by helping them gain access to top-level minimal access surgery in Africa.
He strongly believes that all women have the right to informed consent and should have access to the best treatment plans suited for them and that is the reason why he founded KLASS ( Kenya Laparoscopic Surgery Services ).
Together with his team at KLASS, they provide the highest level of holistic surgical care to women, ensuring that they meet their individual health needs.
Prof. Rafique Parkar specializes in helping women who ail from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Uterine Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, Endometriosis, Pelvic Floor Problems, Ectopic Pregnancies, and Gynecologic Cancers.
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