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.

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)