An abnormal Pap smear does not necessarily mean that you have signs of cervical cancer. Sometimes, a Pap test is abnormal because you have a minor vaginal infection. There are also three levels of cell changes in the non-cancer range before progression into cervical cancer, classified at CIN I, CIN II and CIN III. The goal of Pap tests is to detect changes in these stages, before they become cancerous. For cancer to develop, surface cells will have cancerous changes, as well as signs of ‘invasion’ outside the cells.