Abnormal paps!

on Aug 14, 2012 @ 08:48 pm

So this is basically, in my opinion, one of the scariest things that you can hear as a young woman. I understand that cervical cancer is most often, easily treated & avoided. However, it still does not make it any easier to hear or cope with the fact that you think the big C is after you! It is true that usually most abnormal pap screens don't indicate cancer, & some would even go as far as to say that just because you have an abnormal paper doesn't mean those cells will EVER lead to cancer -- this is good news.

I've actually been going through this since Christmas 2011 & I would love to hear anyone else's story, advice, or commentary about abnormal paps. 



3 Replies

Paps = life savers! on Aug 14, 2012 @ 09:35 pm

After my son was born in 2005, I had an abnormal pap. Then 6 months later I went back for another pap, and again, abnormal.
Then the fun began. I had colposcopys done every year, and each time, they came back as low-grade dysplasia. That's scary for a mom to hear. The gyno assured me that in most cases, it heals on its own, over time.

I've googled, panicked, thought the worst. Every single time I had it done. I said to my (now) husband that if it starts to progress, a hysterectomy was in my plans. We could always adopt. It would be sad to bear only one child, but I need to live for that child!

In July 2008, I found out I was pregnant again! I had a test scheduled for that December, and because I was pregnant, the gyno didn't want to do a biopsy. The colposcopy went as usual, and after she applied the iodine solution, she sat back and said "well.. would you look at that!"
Everything had cleared up, no dysplasia, no abnormal cells, nothing. She was shocked because during pregnancy, your body focuses on the baby, and everything else is an after thought.

I had a healthy daughter in 2009, and have had clear paps ever since. I was brushed off last year - the nurse practitioner in my doctor's office said, before reading my chart "you don't need to be here for another 2 years.. go reschedule"

I was floored. I asked her to look at my chart. She then said "oh, never mind, here's the dressing gown"....

Anyway, if you've ever had an abnormal pap, make sure you insist on having yearly exams!! Mine is in 2 weeks!

Pretty much on Aug 16, 2012 @ 02:58 pm

I'd say that is generally true. If you do have an abnormal pap smear it only means you have dysplasia. That means the cells on your cervix decided that when they would replicate, they would do so by not really making themselves LOOK like a cervical cell. They may be different size, shape, etc. Dysplasia cells are immature and undifferentiated whereas the surrounding cells are healthy. 
While dysplastic cells are technically pre-cancerous, it does not mean you will get cancer. These cells can work themselves out as new ones are created and old ones die or are killed by some built in cancer-butt-whooping mechanisms in our immune system that recognize that these cells are not legit. So it really means you need to go for frequent screenings to keep an eye on how things are going. 
So yes, an abnormal pap smear does not mean getting cancer is inevitable and it's only a matter of time until it pops up. I suggest keeping an open line of communication with your doctor so he/she can give you specific information on what type of dysplasia cells are present and what that means for you as there are different degrees with different options of handling the dysplasia. Also remember that cervical cancer detected early is highly curable. Not that you have it :) Try not to stress too much, go for screening as your doctor suggests, and try to take care of yourself.

Sorry on Aug 16, 2012 @ 03:00 pm

*more frequent screenings. Usually the recommendation is every 6 months I believe. Talk to your doctor if you haven't already! Good luck :) And don't panic!!

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