When reviewing Pap smear results with absent endocervical cells, what is the recommended next step? If repeat testing is advised, how soon should it be done? — Jackie Shuey, PA-C, Tacoma, Wash.

The Bethesda System represents the accepted standards for evaluating Pap smears of cervical tissue. Specimens are reported as either adequate or inadequate. To be deemed adequate, a specimen must contain endocervical or transition-zone cells. Specimens are otherwise deemed inadequate, and patients must be rescreened.

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There are no time parameters to rescreening in this instance, as the issue is one of specimen collection, not pathology. More information can be found through the National Cancer Institute. — Claire Babcock O’Connell, MPH, PA-C (154-08)