When your Pap test is sent to the lab, the lab studies your cell samples and reports any abnormal cell changes. Your health care provider can discuss these changes with you. In some cases, an abnormal Pap test is due to an infection. More serious cell changes range from dysplasia to cancer. Talk to your health care provider about your Pap test.
Cervical cells, even normal ones, are always changing. As they mature, normal squamous cells move from deeper layers within the cervix. Over time, these cells flatten and cover the surface of the cervix. Within the cervical canal, the cells are different. These glandular cells are taller and not as flat as the cells on the surface of the cervix. When a Pap test sample shows healthy cells of both types, the results are negative. Keep having Pap tests as often as directed.
A positive Pap test result means some cells in the sample showed abnormal changes. These results are grouped by the type of cell change and the location, or extent, of the changes. Depending on the results, you may need further testing.