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20 Aug 2010

Please put my mind at rest
I read yesterday that although pap smears are an excellent screening test they are not always 100% accurate. The following statements have me concerned:
- Cervical cancer may be missed as the cells are so distorted that the pap has a ''normal'' result.
- Cancer that starts in the cervical canal (not squamas cell) does not go through the same progression.
- A pap smear never excludes cancer (if you have symptoms)
I had 2 paps this year as I had not had one in a while (and I had a few symptoms e.g. spotting after sex), but they were normal...and my cervix according the the gynae appeared perfectly healthy. How do I know something wasnt missed? Please assist. Kind regards,
Answer 308 views

01 Jan 0001

It is true that pap smears are not 100% accurate. What you have read refers to a cancerous lesion on the cervix where the cells are so distorted that they 'appear'normal. If this were the case, there would be an obvious growth on the cervix.
The non-squamous cancers are much much rarer than the squamous ones and, because they are in the cervical canal , may be missed with a pap smear, though often some of the cells are picked up.
The chances of these situations is very small.

Best wishes
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