Makomed's Weblog

Pap Smears

Posted on: May 30, 2005

Pap smears are taken every couple of years or so, as long as findings are unremarkable. They are usually given for young women in their 20s or three years after a girl has been sexually active. The doctor waits for the lab’s findings on whether any abnormal skin cells are present in the smear. The lab is checking for intraepithelial lesions or malignancy. Usually, if any squamous cells are found, a flag is raised. Doc can either call in the patient for a repeat pap smear, or a colposcopy (which is a closer look inside the vagina using an electronic scope). If there is a lesion or growth, Doc will try to scrape off a sample to send off for a reading.

There is a thorough algorithm concerning these procedures that I will try to find soon.

Prognosis is usually good. Cancer cells in the uterus take 5-15 years to mature and treatment is usually quite productive.

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1 Response to "Pap Smears"

Oh here’s a good website that shows the algorithm (PDF):

http://www.asccp.org/pdfs/consensus/algorithms.pdf

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