10 Things You Should Know About Pap Smear

10 Things You Should Know About Pap Smear

  1. Pap smear is also known as a Pap test or Papanicolaou smear. It is a test done for screening cervical cancer in women. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that opens into the vagina. 
  2. Other names of pap smears are vaginal smear tests or cervical cytology.
  3. What is a Pap smear test? 
    • The procedure involves collecting cells from the cervix to detect any abnormality and the possibility of developing cervical cancer in the future. This test can detect precancer cells in the cervix before one develops any symptoms. Cells of the cervix undergo abnormal changes before developing into cancer cells. A Pap smear can detect these abnormal cells. It is also helpful in detecting any inflammation and infections of the cervix.
  4. How is it done?
    • Using an instrument called a speculum, the doctor widens the vagina. The vagina and the cervix are examined. And some cells from the cervix are collected for further examination under a microscope.
  5. Do not have sexual intercourse or use any vaginal products two days prior to the pap test.
  6. Who should get it done?
    • Everyone above 21 should get a Pap smear test done and repeat it every 3-5 years or as advised by their doctor. Sometimes the doctor recommends getting the HPV(human papillomavirus) testing done along with the Pap smear test if you are above 30 years of age. HPV infection causes warts and increases the risk of having cervical cancer.
  7. The Pap smear is not a requirement after a total hysterectomy and after 65 years of age if your previous test results have been negative.
  8. Depending upon the report of the Pap smear testing, your doctor might increase the frequency of the Pap smear or get a colposcopy done for further examination.
  9. Pap smear is a safe and reliable test with no known risks. It might cause slight discomfort during the Pap test, and a few might have very light bleeding post-test, which is normal.
  10. Cervical cancer screening is an effective tool to screen for new cervical cancer cases and prevent and cure cervical cancer through early detection and treatment.


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