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National Cervical Cancer Coalition

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:51 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:44 pm
Posts: 1
I am totally confused. I last had a papsmere in 2003. I am 43 years old, I had a hysterectomy when I was 30. I still have my ovaries. I went in for a yearly mammogram and decided to have a papsmere, and received a letter today that I had some abnormalities so it was sent off to check for High Risk HPV virus and came back positive. My doctor wants me to schedule a colposcopy. I am so confused because it talks about looking at your cervix under a microscope and the risk of cervical cancer, but what are they going to look at or how could I get cervical cancer when I don't have a cervix? Please explain this to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:09 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hi tlwelch,

Thanks for your post and I can see how this can all be very confusing!

A partial hysterectomy removes the upper portion of the uterus, and the cervix remains intact. A total hysterectomy removes the entire uterus (including the cervix). Women who have had partial hysterectomy obviously need to return for cervical cancer screening, but even some women who have had their cervix removed still need to go for Pap testing.

I'm going to post a response I gave to someone recently who had a question very much like yours:

A Pap test done with a woman who has had her cervix removed is usually a vaginal smear, looking for vaginal pre-cancers and cancers (vaginal cancers are very, very rare, to be sure).

Your healthcare provider is the best source of information about your specific case. Sometime vaginal abnormalities are detected that are examined by colposcopy (a common procedure using a special microscope to examine an area). Ask him or her to explain your results, and what they'll be looking for when they do the colposcopy.

Let us know how you're doing and, if you don't mind, what you find out. We're thinking about you and hope you'll post often!

All the best,

ASHA Moderator

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