What is Pap smear test?
Pap smear test (Pap test or Papanicolaou smear test) is used to screen for cervical cancer in women. The procedure involves collecting cells from the cervix for testing cancer. All sexually active women or women of age 21 or more should have the test done.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in women. The major causes of cervical cancer are an infection by human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 and 18.
Who all are at the risk of Cervical Cancer?
All women who are sexually active are at the risk and should include the test in their annual gynecological examinations. Below are the factors which can elevate the risks.
- Family history of cancer
- Previous cancer conditions
- HIV infection
- Weak immune system
- Multiple sexual partners
Women with the above history should get the test done more frequently. Also the women who have had their uterus removed along with the cervix are less likely to be exposed to the cervical cancer and thus do not need regular Pap smear tests.
How is the Pap smear Test Done?
In the procedure, a tool is inserted into the vagina to visualise the cervix. The doctor then scrapes some tissues from the cervix using a scraping tool which could be a brush or a spatula. The collected sample is then sent to the lab for examination. The results of the examination then can conclude normal cells implying no cancer or abnormal implying cancer or precancerous conditions or infection.
Some light bleeding or spotting is common after the Pap smear test, though it should go away after 2 to 3 days.
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Dr Leena Patil has over 10 years of experience in fields like Dysmenorrhea Treatment, High-Risk Pregnancy Care, Infertility Evaluation / Treatment, Tubectomy/Tubal Ligation and Gynaec Problems and more.