Mercy Gynecologist Dr. Meghan Lynch Discusses What To Do If You Have An Abnormal Pap Smear

December 31, 2012

Pap tests are important when it comes to screening for cervical cancer in women, and it can be frightening to get an abnormal test result, but doctors said to not worry too much if that happens to you.

According to Mercy gynecologist Dr. Meghan Lynch, women shouldn't panic because abnormal Pap test results are very common.

"Sometimes, it's just a mild inflammation, like a yeast infection. Other times, it is the human papillomavirus (HPV) that's causing the abnormal Pap, and that is the virus that causes cervical cancer. But most of the time, it does not go on to become cervical cancer," Dr. Lynch said.

The follow-up to an abnormal Pap test is important to rule out cervical cancer. Doctors perform a five-minute exam using a colposcope.

"The colposcope is a microscope used to look at the cervix. What would happen during the exam is I would look at your cervix under the microscope. We look under the regular white light, and then we look again under green light. I put the vinegar on it, and then we take a little piece. That little pinch is the biopsy," Dr. Lynch explained.

Results usually take about a week.

When Ebony Ashby-Bey had a routine Pap test, she said she never expected to hear the results were abnormal.

"It was scary. I wasn't frantic, but it was always in the back of my mind that, you know, something could be wrong," she said.

Her biopsy results turned out well.

"Everything looks great, so I'm very happy," Ashby-Bey said. "I'm going to keep going to get my Pap tests every six months so that we can keep an eye on it, but she assured me that I'm going to be fine."



Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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