Pap smear

Pap Smear Procedure & Risks

The Pap smear test is a diagnostic procedure meant to ascertain the presence of cervical cancer in women.

This particular test involves the collection of cells from the cervical region- the narrow lower end of the uterus that is present on the top of your vagina. 

A pap test is the earliest diagnostic procedures for cervical cancer. To that end, if the cancer is detected at this stage, the chances of a cure are high as well. This form of tests is able to detect changes in the cervical cells. These detected changes can actually be observed to detect the presence of cancer development in future. These abnormalities detection if the first step is stopping the progress or the occurrence of cervical cancer.

Why this procedure is done?

As we have already mentioned, the goal of this procedure is to detect for the presence of cervical cancer in women and it is able to make sure that the abnormalities are detected in the earlier stages. Furthermore, this form of cancer deduction technology is also helpful is also able to detect the human Papilloma virus. This virus is the primary reason that causes the development of cervical cancer in women.

Doctors recommend that you take this test once you are past 21 years of age.

How often the Pap smear test is supposed to be done?

It is generally recommended that the Pap smear test is done every 3 years between the ages of 21 and 35. However, if the women’s age is less than 30, then once test every 5 years would also suffice.

How to prepare for this medical procedure?

In order to prepare for this test, you need to:

  • Avoid intercourse

  • Avoid douching

  • Avoid vaginal medicine usage

  • Or anything else that can actually wash away the abnormal cells.

  • Also, make sure that you avoid having this test during your menstrual cycle.

During and After the Pap test

During the test:

  • You will lie down on your back with your legs raised and supported using stirrups. The entire procedure is going to take place in the doctor’s office.

  • A speculum will be gently inserted inside your vagina.

  • While this speculum is spreading y our vagina apart in a gentle fashion, the doctor is going to visually observe any changes on the cervical surface.

  • Some of the cervical cell samples are taken using either a soft brush or a spatula.

After the test:

  • This test s done on an outpatient basis. To that end, you are free to leave the hospital once the process is over. 

  • The cells are then transferred into a container that entails a special liquid to preserve the cell samples

  • These containers are then taken to the laboratory for further testing.

  • You can ask the doctors about your result right away.

What are the risks associated with Pap test?

Although rare, there are some risks involved with this form of the test:

  • There is a chance of false positives with this test

  • There is also a chance of false negative

  • The reasons for false negatives are as follows:

  • a. If a number of cells taken are inadequate

  • b. The number of abnormal cells is abnormal

  • c. There are inflammatory cells present that are obscuring the abnormal cells.

These risks are the reasons that Pap smear is only the first test for cervical cancer deduction and more forms of tests are required.

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