Q:

What do no endocervical cells on a Pap test indicate?

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Quick Answer

A Pap test that does not include endocervical cells indicates the sample was not taken high enough in the cervical canal, the cytologist did not recognize the cells or the test was done six weeks postpartum, according to Operational Obstetrics & Gynecology. Doctors suggest redoing the Pap test in these circumstances.

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Full Answer

Endocervical cells come from the transformation zone of the cervix, where the glandular cells and squamous cells meet. Although it is more difficult to obtain a sample from the transformation zone, it is where cervical cancer is most likely to develop. Regular Pap tests that show no abnormalities but do not show endocervical cells are not a cause for worry if there are no irregular symptoms such as random bleeding. It does not mean a woman has or will develop cancer, according to the Australian Government Department of Health.

Studies show that tests without endocervical cells do not decrease the effectiveness of finding abnormalities that may lead to the HPV virus or cervical cancer, explains Operational Obstetrics & Gynecology. However, because Pap tests are used to look for cell changes that might become cancer if left untreated, it is suggested that tests without endocervical cells be repeated to ensure a high enough sample is taken.

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