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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index

Re: Abnormal Pap
Feb 15, 2006
Hi db18, you probably got a reading of ASCUS - meaning the cells that were read were not quite normal, but they were not quite abnormal (as in dysplasia) either. There are many reasons a pap might be read as ASCUS, the main thing is that you keep your follow up appointments to make sure if the cells start changing then it can be caught early and dealt with. As far as symptoms go, there are usually no symptoms until there is invasive cancer. Sometimes there is bleeding after sex, or mid cycle bleeding, or there may be a profuse watery like discharge. Many times there are no symptoms at all.

Cervical cancer typically takes many years to become invasive. Most times it is caught when the cells are just starting to change, called pre-cancerous cells. There are four levels of pre-cancerous changes that occur, it is not considered to be invasive until the cell changes break through the basement membrane of the cervix. For more information on the different levels of cell changes, you might want to do a search for the Bethesda system for reading pap smears. There is quite a bit of information about this online, key terms are ASCUS, CIN 1 (mild cell changes, a.k.a. LSIL), CIN 2 (moderate cell changes, a.k.a. HSIL), CIN 3 (severe cell changes, a.k.a. HSIL), and CIS (cervical carcinoma in situ - meaning cancer in place - this is not yet invasive cancer, however, if not treated is likely to become invasive).

Be sure you keep your appointment in March, keep on top of it and you should be fine. I hope your next pap turns out normal. You may want to consider requesting copies of your pap reports so that you can have the terminology used, making your research about what kind of cell changes much easier. If you have any questions, go ahead and ask :)

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