Treatment - abnormal Pap smear

Alternative names
Pap smear and treatment


An abnormal pap smear does not always require special treatment, but it does require follow up. There are three broad categories of abnormal pap smear results:

  • Noncancerous - often reported as “Atypical cells”  
  • Precancerous - usually reported as “Cervical dysplasia”  
  • Cancerous

If you receive a result stating that you have atypical cells in your cervix, your doctor is likely to treat you for an infection and have you follow up in 4 to 6 months for a repeat pap smear or simply have you follow up in 4 to 6 months for the repeat pap smear.

If you receive a precancerous report, you will likely receive colposcopy and possible biopsy. Further treatment will be determined by your physician based on the results of these tests.

The goal for a pap smear is to find a change or abnormality in the cervix before it becomes cancerous.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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