PAP Test, Thin Prep
Gynecological cytology, also known as PAP test, involves observing a cervical sample under a microscope in order to screen for a cancer or lesions that may develop into cervical cancer.
Conventional Pap smear testing involves manually placing the collected cells on a glass slide and taking it to the laboratory where it is observed under a microscope. With liquid-based cytology, the cells are rinsed in a small container filled with liquid. The cells are then placed on slides by a special machine before being examined under a microscope for abnormal cells.
Negative results are those indicating a “negative” result, “no malignancy,” or “no intraepithelial lesions”. Additional comments indicating inflammatory changes, atrophic vaginitis, or “consistent with repair,” “no significant atypia” or an equivalent are not associated with the risk of developing cervical cancer.
With the exception of results identified as ASC-US (atypical squamous cells of unknown significance), other lesions are generally followed up by colposcopy to determine the nature of the lesion. Results identified as ASC-US indicate the mildest stage of abnormality and, if not repeated 6 and 12 months later, do not require a colposcopy. In women over 21 years of age, a significant abnormality on the PAP test should be automatically followed by the identification of high-risk HPV and /or referred for a colposcopy.
ASC-H (atypical cells that do not rule out a high-grade lesion), LSIL (low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) and HSIL (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) are more serious and must be confirmed with a colposcopy. A diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma indicates that cervical cancer is present. Atypical glandular cells are also significant because they can eventually become cancerous.
- Results available in 5 to 7 business days, compared to 1 to 6 months for conventional smear testing.
- Molecular detection of HPV from the same sample, if necessary.
- Costs reimbursed by most insurers.
*A doctor's prescription is required.