Implications of an abnormal Pap smear

Cervical cancer means cervical surface cells have cancerous cell changes as well as signs of cancer “invasion” outside the cells.

An abnormal Pap smear rarely means cervical cancer.  Sometimes, a Pap test is found to be abnormal for simple reasons such as a minor vaginal infection.  There are three levels of cell changes in the non-cancer range before progression into cervical cancer.  The pre-cancer cell changes are the ones diagnosed by Pap smears and they are classified as CIN I, CIN II and CIN III.

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