Bookmark and Share

Does An Abnormal Pap Mean I Have Cancer?

Published: April 21, 2014
Dear Does An Abnormal Pap Mean I Have Cancer?,

If my Pap test comes back as abnormal, does that mean I have cancer?


Dear Does An Abnormal Pap Mean I Have Cancer?,

An abnormal Pap does not automatically mean that you have cancer. The most common reason for an abnormal Pap test is a vaginal or cervical infection that causes changes in the cells of your cervix. Most of the changes can be monitored or treated so that things will return to normal. Regular Pap tests and treatment can actually prevent most types of cervical cancer – that is why it is so important to have Pap tests. Pap tests are usually done once a year starting at the age of 21, unless there are certain risk factors present where your doctor recommends you start Pap tests sooner (such as having HIV, being sexually active at an early age and more).

If you have questions or concerns about your Pap tests – if you should get them, how often you should get them, what the results could mean and more – please speak to your primary care physician, gynecologist, or adolescent medicine specialist. TeenHealthFX is unsure whether your question is a hypothetical one or you recently found out your Pap was abnormal. If you were told that you had an abnormal Pap, speak to the doctor who performed the test to learn more about what steps to take from here. Your doctor may want you to take another Pap test, take an HPV test, or have a colposcopy performed so that your doctor can take a closer look at your cervix.

To learn more about Pap tests – what they test for, how they are done, what the results mean and more – read the Center for Young Women’s Health article on Abnormal Pap Tests and Planned Parenthood’s article on Pap Tests & HPV Tests.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Ratings