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ASCUS - Definition


A PAP smear is a gynecological screening test which allows us to discover cancer of the cervix by taking cells from the cervix. The sample is then sent to the cytologist who may ask for another sample, if the one he/she is given proves to be unreadable. If the PAP smear is normal, another test will be done 3 years later; if the results are abnormal, a more advanced test is done by a gynecologist. There are other cases in which the cytologist is unable to give a result: this is the ASCUS PAP smear (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance). In this case, urgent research is done for the human papillomavirus (HPV): if the analysis comes back negative, a new PAP smear is advised after 3 years, otherwise a colposcopy (a test done by a gynecologist which studies the cervix with a type of magnifying glass) and biopsies must be done.