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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What does an abnormal pap test mean?

    Could it be an indication of cervical cancer?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Women's Health Queensland Wide provides free health information for Queensland women. View Profile

    If you are told that your Pap test result was abnormal, try not to worry – it’s unlikely to mean you have cancer. Only about 9 in 1,000 tests reveal the kind of cell changes that may later develop into cancer. There are a few reasons that the test may have led to an abnormal result:
    Unsatisfactory result (perhaps not enough cells were collected for a thorough examination, cells obscured by blood, mucus, inflammation etc)
    Low grade changes
    High grade changes
    Glandular abnormality.
    None of these mean you have cancer, but they may mean you need to have a follow-up Pap test or treatment. It is important that you find out the nature of the ‘abnormal result’ and discuss ongoing management with your GP.
    Women’s Health EducatorHealth Information Line, Women’s Health Queensland Wide Women living in Queensland can also call our Health Information Line - a free information and referral service for Queensland women - on 3839 9988 or 1800 017 676 (toll free outside Brisbane). Please note that all health information provided by Women’s Health Queensland Wide is subject to this disclaimer

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