When your doctor says you have an abnormal Pap smear, that means the test found some cells on your cervix that do not look normal. These cells are probably not cancerous, but they could turn into cancer. That is why you will need to undergo further tests.
Abnormal cells are usually caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted disease. Some types of HPV have been linked to cervical cancer.
After an abnormal Pap smear, you will need a colposcopy, during which your doctor looks at your vagina and cervix using a lighted tool. Your doctor also will take a small sample of tissue from your cervix and order a biopsy. If the abnormal cells are concerning, your doctor may need to remove them.