Pattern of epithelial cell abnormality in Pap smear: A clinicopathological and demographic correlation.
ABSTRACT In the low resource settings of a developing country, a conventional Papanicolaou (Pap) test is the mainstay screening system for cervical cancer. In order to counsel women and to organize a public health system for cervical cancer screening by Pap smear examination, it is imperative to know the pattern of premalignant and malignant lesions. This study was undertaken to find out the prevalence of an abnormal Pap smear, in a tertiary hospital of a developing country, and to carry out a clinicopathological and demographical analysis for establishing the pattern of epithelial cell abnormality in a Pap smear.
A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in a total of 1699 patients who underwent Pap smear examination. The prevalence of epithelial cell abnormality in the Pap smear was calculated in proportions / percentages. Specimen adequacy and reporting was assessed according to the revised Bethesda system.
Among the total of 1699 patients who had their Pap smear done, 139 (8.18%) revealed epithelial cell abnormality. Altogether 26 smears revealed high-grade lesions and malignancy, most of which were found to be in women belonging to the 30 - 39 and ≥ 45 age group. A total of 75 (53.96%) women were in the 20 - 44 age group and 64 (46.04%) were in the ≥ 45 age group. A bimodal age distribution was detected in the epithelial cell abnormality, with the bulk being diagnosed in patients aged 45 or above. Overall one-third of the patients with an abnormal Pap smear result showed healthy cervix in per vaginal examination.
A raised prevalence of epithelial cell abnormality reflects the lack of awareness about cervical cancer screening. Women aged 45 or above harbor the bulk of premalignant and malignant lesions in the Pap smear, signifying that these women are among the under users of cytological screening.