- Did I receive the HPV test? - if not, request to have the HPV test
- Do I have the high risk strands of HPV which are known to be able to turn into cervical cancer?
- How frequently will I be monitored to ensure the abnormal cells are not getting worse?
- Can you perform a test to determine if the abnormal cells are a minor or serious risk?
- When do I need to come in for additional testing?
- What treatment do I need to have now?
- Are there any side effects I should be concerned about when receiving this treatment?
- Will the testing and/or treatment impact my ability to get or stay pregnant?
- What symptoms, moving forward, do I need to watch for which could indicate the abnormalities are getting worse?
I completely understand the statistics. According to the CDC, it is estimated that each year in the United States over three million women get unclear or abnormal Pap tests, only about ten thousand of those women will actually have cervical cancer.
I feel passionately that there should be a balance of education. Your doctor doesn't want to scare you and say these abnormalities can turn into cancer, however, they should educate patients on the specific symptoms to watch for when they have already tested for an abnormality which is known to lead to cancer.
Another important thing to note, although the HPV test is recommended to begin at age 30, you can ask for it earlier. It is advised that if you have an unclear or abnormal Pap, at any age, you request the HPV test as a follow up. Not all doctors will automatically do this test. I would advise that you ask your doctor if you have had this screen before, especially if you have had an unclear or abnormal Pap or if you are 30 or older.
Ladies, be ready to advocate for your own health. With these questions, if you have an unclear or abnormal Pap results, you will be ready to educate yourself.