Skip to main content

Results

Your doctor or health care provider who collected the cervical cancer screening (Pap test) sample will send the sample to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope by specially trained professionals. Your results will be sent to your doctor or health care provider within four weeks. You will then be contacted by your doctor or health care provider if abnormal cells are found.

If your results are normal: you should be tested again in three years unless your doctor or health care provider tells you otherwise.

If your results are abnormal: don’t be alarmed. Abnormal cervical cancer screening results are common and do not mean you have cancer.

Abnormal results

An abnormal screening result does not mean you have cancer.

An abnormal cervical cancer screening result means that cells have been found on your cervix that do not look normal. Abnormal results are common and do not mean you have cancer or pre-cancerous cells.

It is rare for a woman with an abnormal cervical cancer screening result to have cervical cancer. However, when abnormal cells are found, further testing may be needed.

Often these abnormal cells return to normal by themselves. But, in some cases they may not return to normal on their own, and instead become pre-cancerous cells that need to be removed. 

You need to discuss your results and the need for further tests or treatment with your doctor or health care provider. It is important that you attend all follow-up appointments.

Infection, inflammation or hormone changes can cause abnormal cervical cancer screening test results. However, most abnormal results are caused by a common virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV).

 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes almost all cervical cancers. HPV can take more than ten years to progress to pre-cancerous cells or cervical cancer.

 
HPV is a virus that usually clears up on its own without causing any problems.

Two groups of HPV can infect the cervix – low risk and high risk. Low risk types are not associated with cervical cancer but may cause genital warts and abnormal screening results. Long term infection with a high risk type of HPV may lead to cervical cancer or pre-cancerous cells.

HPV is very common and easily spread through any kind of sexual contact. This includes intimate touching, oral, vaginal and anal sex.

Most people will get HPV at some point in their lives – often without knowing it. Usually the body’s immune system removes the virus within two years. But sometimes HPV does not clear on its own, and over time, it can cause the cells of the cervix to become abnormal.
 
It is rare for a woman with an abnormal screening result to have cervical cancer however further testing may be needed.

SOURCE: Results ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © Provincial Health Services Authority. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2017 Provincial Health Services Authority