What do abnormal Pap smear results mean?
Cells of the cervix can appear abnormal, but that does not mean they are cancerous or can become cancerous. Your doctor will tell you what your Pap smear result means for you.
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Cancer of the cervix occurs when the cervical cells of a woman are damaged and replicate unchecked. Most of the time the damage is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
Most of the time there are no symptoms for cervical cancer, which is why it's important to be screened with a Pap smear if you are at risk. When symptoms occur they include pain, discharge and abnormal bleeding.
The cervix is the point between the uterus and vagina that produces lubricant for the vagina and mucus that promotes the motility (ability to move) of sperm.
Human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts, causes most cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cells undergo abnormal changes before they become cancerous. A Pap smear can detect these changes.
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are used to treat cervical cancer.
In many cases, after treatment your cancer can be in 'remission', which means that the cancer is cleared from the body. No one can be permanently 'cured' of cervical cancer, as there is always a chance the cancer will return.
In many cases cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), so getting the HPV vaccine, using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners you have are the best ways to reduce your risk of getting cervical cancer.