What is a Pap Smear?
A Pap smear is a test that is used to detect and prevent cervical cancer. A medical professional will remove cells from the cervix during a Pap smear test and send them to a lab for examination.
The cells are examined under a microscope in the lab for cancer or for precancerous cells. Precancers are cells that have the potential to become cancerous. Cervical cancer can be prevented by detecting and treating precancers. Pap smear is also a proven method of detecting cancer early when it is simpler to treat.
Other names: for a Pap smear are Pap test, cervical cytology, Papanicolaou test, Pap smear test, vaginal smear technique
What is the use of Pap Smear Test?
A Pap smear detects abnormal changes in cervical cells before they develop into cancer. Cells collected during a Pap smear are sometimes tested for HPV, a virus that can cause cell changes that can lead to cancer.
Cervical cancer screening tests, such as Pap smears and HPV tests, look for cancer before symptoms appear. According to research, cervical cancer screening can significantly reduce the number of new cases and deaths from the disease. Inquire with your physician about which test is best for you or whether you should get a Pap smear and an HPV test.
When do you need a Pap smear test?
Generally, females between the ages of 21 and 65, should have regular Pap smear test:
- Between the ages of 21 and 29: In this age group, when your last Pap test result was normal, your provider may tell you that you can skip the next exam for three years.
- Between the ages of 30 and 65: If your last Pap smear result was normal and you're between the ages of 30 and 65, your provider may ask:
- To wait three years before your next test.
- If your HPV test results are normal, your provider may tell you that you can wait for five years for the next test.
1. If you are above the age of 65, your provider may notify you that you no longer require Pap smears if you:
- Already had normal Pap smears for numerous years.
- Had surgery for removal of your uterus and cervix for a non-cancerous condition, such as fibroids.
If you have a high risk of developing cervical cancer, your provider may advise you to have screenings more frequently or after the age of 65. You may be at greater risk if you:
- Have an abnormal Pap smear
- Have HIV
- Have a compromised immune system
- Family history
Cervical cancer screening is not advised for those under the age of 21. THE chances of developing cervical cancer are quite low. Furthermore, any alterations in cervical cells are likely to resolve at this age.
Consult your doctor if you are unclear if you require a Pap smear test.
What takes place during a Pap smear test?
During a Pap smear test, you will be asked to lay on a medical table or bed. A medical professional will use a speculum, a plastic or metal instrument, to widen the vagina so the cervix can be seen. The medical professional will next collect cells from the cervix with a little soft brush or swab. The cell sample is transported to a laboratory for analysis.
A Pap smear test is frequently performed as part of a pelvic checkup. The medical professional examines your uterus, ovaries, and genital area during a pelvic exam. A Pap smear is not always included in a pelvic exam. So, when you get a pelvic exam, ask your clinician if you'll also get a Pap smear.
How to prepare for the test?
No specific preparation is required for the test. Avoid getting a pap smear test during your menstrual periods. The test is best taken about five days after the last day of your period. You should not do the following things two to three days before the test:
- Make use of tampons
- Use birth control pills
- Do not apply any cream or foamy products
- Do not use lotions or medications in the vaginal area.
- Do not take this test after intercourse.
- Douche (rinse the vagina with other fluid and water)
Is there any risk in the test?
There is no such risk associated with a Pap smear test, but one may experience some level of mild discomfort. Rarely, one may also have little bleeding thereafter, but it goes in some time.
What do the findings imply?
A Pap smear test can generate three results:
Consult your doctor to find out what your Pap smear results mean.
Negative Pap smear result
When the result comes as negative, it means that there are no abnormal cells discovered in the cervix. Your provider may advise you to wait for three years for your next test. If you also received a normal HPV test result, depending on your age and medical history, you may be permitted to wait five years for your next test.
Results that are unclear or unsatisfactory
There may not have been enough cells in the lab sample, or the cells may have been clumped together or concealed by mucus. Your healthcare provider will request you to return in 2 to 4 months for another test.
Abnormal Pap smear or "positive" outcome
Your cervical cells were found to have abnormal alterations. Most of the time, abnormal results do not indicate the presence of cervical cancer. Minor changes in the cells usually resolve on their own. However, your doctor may advise you to get a follow-up test. If more dangerous cell abnormalities are not treated, they may become cancer. Early detection and treatment of these cells can aid in the prevention of cancer.
Important information to know about Pap tests?
Every year, thousands of women get affected from cervical cancer. One of the most effective ways to prevent cervical cancer is to get a Pap smear and an HPV test.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the purpose of a Pap Smear Test?
The Pap test checks for precancers, which are cell abnormalities in the cervix that might progress to cervical cancer if not treated properly.
2. Is the Pap Smear Test painful?
For the Pap test, a little spatula or tiny brush is usually used to gently collect cells from the cervix. When they remove the cells, you may feel a little scraping or nothing at all. You may have discoloration or bleeding as a result of the test. Gynecological examinations are not supposed to be painful, although they might cause discomfort.
3. What if the Pap Smear Test is positive?
A positive test result indicates something abnormal. However, an abnormal test result does not always indicate that you have cancer. Your doctor may advise you to undergo additional tests or therapy.
4. When should women begin to take a Pap Smear Test?
Women at the age of 21 years old or 25, should begin cervical cancer screening, even if they are not sexually active.
5. Is a Pap Smear Test necessary for a woman?
Yes, regardless of sexual history, doctors suggest periodic cervical cancer screening.
6. How long does a Pap Smear Test take?
The entire test takes around 10-20 minutes. The test is carried out only in a doctor's office or any diagnostic center.
7. Can a Pap Smear Test detect cancerous cells?
A Pap test can identify cervical cancer and abnormalities in the cervical cells that may raise your future risk of cervical cancer.
8. Can a Pap Smear Test identify other infections?
Pap smear also aids in the detection of STIs such as trichomoniasis, Candida, Actinomyces, herpes simplex virus (HSV), CMV, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
9. What is the cost of a Pap Smear Test?
The average cost of a Pap Smear Test ranges from Rs.200 to Rs.1000. However, it might vary from place to place.
10. Where can I get a Pap Smear Test in Hyderabad?
If you are looking for Pap Smear Test in Hyderabad, then visit Medicover Hospitals, it offers the best diagnostic services.