What is the point of a Pap smear?

A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus. During the routine procedure, cells from your cervix are gently scraped away and then examined for abnormal growth.

In respect to this, what is a cervical cytology test?

A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.

What is a Pap smear and why is one given?

A Pap smear is used to screen for cervical cancer. The Pap smear is usually done in conjunction with a pelvic exam. In women older than age 30, the Pap test may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) — a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer in some women.

What do they look for in a Pap smear?

Pap smears are performed as a screening test to look at the cells from the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. These tests can detect abnormal cells that have the potential to transform into cervical cancer, a process that is linked to infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Do they check for STDS in a Pap smear?

During the Pap smear, your doctor may choose to collect samples of the fluid around the cervix to test for Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. Other tests that your doctor may choose to perform as part of a standard STD screen include urine testing for Gonorrhea or Chlamydia, and blood testing for HIV, Hepatitis B, and syphilis.

Do you need to have a Pap smear if you are a virgin?

If you’re a virgin — meaning you haven’t had sexual (vaginal) intercourse — you may have a low risk of cervical cancer, but you can still consider testing. The purpose of a Pap smear is to collect cells from your cervix, which is the lower end of your uterus.

Can you get cervical cancer if you are not sexually active?

If you’ve never had any sexual contact with a man or a woman (this includes penetrative sex and skin-to-skin contact of the genital area), your risk of developing cervical cancer is very low. Women who have never been sexually active may therefore decide not to have a cervical screening test when invited.

What are the possible causes of cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer facts. Causes and risk factors for cervical cancer include human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, having many sexual partners, smoking, taking birth control pills, and engaging in early sexual contact. HPV infection may cause cervical dysplasia, or abnormal growth of cervical cells.

Are Pap smears required by law?

Here are the recommendations for women who are at an average risk for cervical cancer: Under the age of 21: No pap smear necessary. 21 to 29: Pap smear required once every three years. 30 to 65: Pap smear required every three years or a combination of a Pap smear and HPV test every five years.

Do a Pap smear hurt?

Once a girl turns 21, she should start getting regular Pap smears as a way to monitor her health. Women in their 20s with normal Pap smear results should have the test every 3 years. The Pap smear shouldn’t hurt, but it might be uncomfortable. The good news is, it’s over quickly.

Can a Pap smear be wrong?

This means that the woman may be asked to get more frequent PAP smears, have her cervical cells tested for human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA, or even a colposcopy. The second type of Pap smear error is called a “false positive” result. The woman is told “We have found abnormal cells,” when she is actually fine.

Do you need to have a smear test if you are not sexually active?

You do not need a cervical smear test because you have not become sexually active. Pre-cancerous changes and invasive cancer of the cervix are both caused by a combination of factors that are present in seminal fluid. It has been known for many years that cervical cancer is extremely rare among nuns.

Can you detect ovarian cancer with a Pap smear?

Women should discuss the need for these exams with their doctor. The Pap test is effective in early detection of cervical cancer, but it isn’t a test for ovarian cancer. Rarely, ovarian cancers are found through Pap tests, but usually they are at an advanced stage.

How often do you need a Pap smear?

If you are between ages 21 and 29, you should get a Pap test every 3 years. If you are between ages 30 and 64, you should get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test together every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. If you are 65 or older, ask your doctor if you can stop having Pap tests.

Why is it called a Pap smear?

The Papanicolaou test (abbreviated as Pap test, also known as Pap smear, cervical smear, or smear test) is a method of cervical screening used to detect potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous processes in the cervix (opening of the uterus or womb).


HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers.

Can a doctor see cancer on the cervix?

This lets the doctor see the upper portion of your vagina and your cervix. Some cervical cancer may be found during a pelvic exam. Your provider can’t see precancer changes such as dysplasia. But the provider may see some invasive cancer during an exam.

How long does it take to get the results of a Pap smear?

While some labs need as few as three days to process the results, most doctors tell patients it’ll take about three weeks, according to The Office on Women’s Health. Don’t use the waiting time to worry. Even if you have an abnormal test result, it does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer.

What are the guidelines for Pap smears?

The USPSTF recommends screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years with cytology (Pap smear) every 3 years or, for women ages 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and HPV testing every 5 years (A recommendation).

Can you be 18 and get a pap smear?

A Pap smear can detect cervical cancer early, while it is still curable. Usually health care providers recommend that women have a Pap smear annually beginning at age 18 or within six months of first sexual intercourse. However, a Pap smear is just a screening; it is not 100% accurate.

Can you get a Pap smear when you have your period?

Some doctors will perform the Pap smear on one of the light days. You should call your doctor’s office to ask what your doctor prefers. Of course, if you’re not comfortable with having a pap smear done during your period, it’s perfectly fine to reschedule.

What is the average cost of a Pap smear?

Pap Smear Cost Without Insurance in the United States. The cost of a Pap smear varies among doctor’s offices. The cost can range from $50 through $200. Some offices have a discounted price for uninsured women, while others have a standard rate.

When can I do a Pap smear?

Special Concerns about Pap Smear

  • The test should not be performed during your menstrual period, since the presence of blood may interfere with the results.
  • The best time to schedule a Pap smear is two weeks after the start of your last menstrual period.
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