What is Pap Smear Screening?

Pap smear screening, also called a Pap test, is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus. A Pap Smear involves collecting cells from your cervix – the lower, narrow end of your uterus that’s at the top of your vagina. Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap Smear gives you a greater chance at a cure. 

A Pap Smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a Pap Smear is your first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer.

Pap smear is a procedure performed by gynaecologist who will use a speculum and brush for a tissue sample from the cervix. The cells collected will then be tested for any pre-cancerous changes. Abnormal pap smear result does not necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer. The abnormal cells that develop may also be caused by any infection or hormone changes that occur after menopause.

How oftern do you need a Pap Smear?

AgePap smear frequency
<21 years old,none needed
21-29every 3 years
30-65every 3 years or an HPV test every 5 years or a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years
65 and olderyou may no longer need Pap smear tests; talk to your doctor to determine your needs

How to prepare for a Pap Smear?

If you’ll be menstruating on the day of your Pap smear, your gynaecologist may want to reschedule the test, since results could be less accurate.

Try to avoid having sexual intercourse, douching, or using spermicidal products the day before your test because these may interfere with your results.

In most cases, it’s safe to have a Pap smear in the first 24 weeks of a pregnancy. After that, the test may be more painful. You should also wait until 12 weeks after giving birth to increase the accuracy of your results.

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