Understanding Your Pap Test Results

understanding your result cervical 1During a Pap test, cells are taken from the cervix and are evaluated at a laboratory. The screening program will notify you and your healthcare provider of the results of the Pap test.

What does a normal result mean?

A normal result means that the cervical cells appear normal. You should continue to have regular Pap tests at least every three years.

What does an unsatisfactory result mean?

Sometimes the laboratory has difficulty clearly seeing the cells from your Pap test. This may be because:

  • Blood was mixed with the cells
  • Cells were not clearly visible because of inflammation
  • Not enough cells were collected to give an accurate result
  • The slide may have broken in transit to the laboratory

If you have an unsatisfactory result, you should schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider. You will be advised to have a repeat Pap test in three months.

What does an abnormal result mean?

An abnormal result means that some of the cells of the cervix look different from normal cells. Your healthcare provider will contact you for a follow-up appointment. You may require a repeat Pap test or a colposcopy.

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