Abnormal Pap test (or Pap smear) results and treatment

An abnormal Pap test or Pap smear result means that some of the cells of the cervix differ in some way from the normal cells. It very rarely means cervical cancer. The vast majority of Pap tests are normal.

If we look at the likely Pap test results of 100 women:

  • around 93 are normal
  • around 2 require a repeat Pap test due to an unsatisfactory sample
  • around 4 identify cell changes that require monitoring via more frequent Pap tests
  • just 1 requires treatment

Of those requiring treatment, the vast majority can be treated easily and successfully.

Women who have an abnormal result often feel anxious. You can discuss these feelings with a health professional or with a nurse from Cancer Council on 13 11 20.

Pap test results: for women with an abnormal Pap test provides more information.

Pap test results: for women with an abnormal Pap test
Cancer Council Helpline