I agree, do not be overly frightened by this. Women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are more likely to have an abnormal Pap test result than other women. It is recommended that we get cervical screening at least once a year, preferably with testing for HPV (a type of virus that can be associated with cervical cancer). A single “abnormal” Pap smear does not necessarily indicate that cancer is present.
The membranes in the cervix undergo constant changes and repair.
Studies have been done to determine why women with SLE are prone to abnormal pap smears. It was found that one common factor was exposure to immunosuppressive medication ((cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and azathioprine) and that this exposure was a putative causative factor for abnormal pap smears.
Studies have also shown that SLE patients may have a distinct prevalence profile for cancer risk factors with respect to several factors influencing the risk of cervical dysplasia and neoplasia, compared with the general population.
Use of immunosuppressive medications may predispose lupus patients to infection (or delay the clearance of infectious agents) and thus allow viral and other infectious triggers to initiate abnormal cell differentiation, therefor increasing the risk for malignant potential. Though HPV is the infectious agent most associated with cervical dysplasia and cancer and chlamydia has also been implicated in abnormal pap smears. Recent work has suggested that women with SLE have an increased prevalence of HPV infection (Human papillomavirus Virus). Whether this is due to exposure to medication or just a baseline abnormality in the immunology of patients with SLE is unknown.
As such, it is suggested that yearly cytological screening (pap smears) should be performed in women younger than 30, and that older women who have had three consecutive negative cytologies for intraepithelial lesions or malignancy may be screened every 2–3 yr. However, because HPV infection and cervical dysplasia occur more frequently. The ACOG also extends this recommendation to women receiving immunosuppressive agents, which would include many women with SLE.
Peace and Blessings
Look For The Good and Praise It!