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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index

Hi Calypsosmom! I'm sorry to hear about your abnormal pap. The good news is that you have gone to the doctor and they have found this. Also, your doctor is proactive and is looking further.

First of all, the pap is just a screening tool. Have you read about the colposcopy and what happens during one? The doctor might take a biopsy (sometimes called a pinch biopsy or punch biopsy). In addition, the doctor might do an ECC (endocervical curettage). I HIGHLY suggest you ask for one of those (because it is how my doctor found where the HPV was doing damage - all other tests came back good until the ECC).

The good news is that this is squamous cells. They are flat cells that make up the outer third of the cervix. They are the cells that are scraped during a pap. They are the cells that are looked at (and biopsied, if needed) during the colposcopy. Squamous cells are easy to see and assess. Atypical squamous cells grow slowly (more slowly than glandular/columnar cells which make up the upper 2/3 of the cervix). They also spread to neighboring cells (unlike glandular cells). Something like 80% of abnormal paps come back with atypical squamous cell.

I totally understand your fear and concern. Please know that the colpo, biopsy, and ECC are used to get a better idea of the location, type, and extent of the dysplasia. I don't think they can diagnose cancer. If any of the pathology reports (from the biopsy and/or ECC) show more cell involvement your doctor will likely order a LEEP or cone biopsy.

Fortunately, cervical dysplasia (and cancer) is easily treated if it is caught early. My cancer was caught at stage 1 (adenocarcinoma Ia1) and my only needed treatment was a hysterectomy to remove my cervix and uterus. That's it. While I'm not happy to have been diagnosed with cancer, I feel blessed that it was found so early and that the treatment was "just" the hyst (no chemo or radiation).

When you go in to the doctor on Monday I suggest you ask for a copy of your pathology report from that pap (and then ask for a copy when they get the results for Monday's procedures). I also suggest you go in to the appointment with a written list of questions. That way you won't forget what to ask, but you can also write your answers. And personally, I think a doctor takes more time with me if I have a written list than if I just wing it.

I hope I haven't freaked you out. Please write back. There are some great ladies here who I know will offer some support and good ideas.

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