What Is Scant Cellularity?

Scant cellularity refers to a Pap test in which insufficient cells were collected from the cervix for a satisfactory evaluation, according to Mount Auburn Hospital’s Cervical Cancer Screening Program. A minimum of 5,000 squamous epithelial cells must be collected for a satisfactory evaluation to occur.

A result of scant cellularity does not indicate an abnormal Pap test result; it just means the sample is unsatisfactory for evaluation, says WebMD. An individual may be asked to repeat a Pap test if insufficient cells were collected for a satisfactory sample. Women who are menopausal may need to take estrogen to be able to produce enough cells to provide an adequate sample.

Receiving an abnormal Pap test result does not always mean that cancer cells were found in the sample. Some causes for abnormal Pap test results include infection, menstrual changes and inflammation due to irritation from a diaphragm or sexual intercourse. A doctor must evaluate the abnormal results to determine if additional testing is necessary, says WebMD.

The Pap test detects cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cells that may lead to cancer. Deaths from cervical cancer have dropped by 70 percent since the Pap test has been in use, reports the American Cancer Society.