Making Sense Of Pap Tests
Mamas&Papas|April 2019

Cervical cancer is amongst the most common cancers in women primarily because women in developing countries don’t have proper access to cervical screening.

A Pap smear looks for cancers and precancers, which are cell changes that might become cancer if they aren’t treated the right way. The procedure is named after Dr Georgios Papanikolaou, who determined that this was a useful way to detect signs of cervical cancer.

Q. WHAT IS A PAP SMEAR?

A Pap test, also known as a Pap smear or cervical screening, checks the cervix for abnormal cell changes. These changes can develop on the cervix and if they aren’t treated, they can lead to cervical cancer, which in most cases can be prevented. Having regular Pap tests is the key.

Q. WHO NEEDS TO HAVE A PAP SMEAR AND WHY?

A Pap smear can save your life. It can detect the earliest signs of cervical cancer and if caught at this stage, the chances of curing the cervical cancer are very high. The smear tests also find infections and abnormal cervical cells that can turn into cancer cells. All women who have ever been sexually active need to have a regular Pap smear, even if:

You are well and have no symptoms.

You have received the HPV vaccine.

You are pregnant.

You have only had one sexual partner.

You no longer have periods.

You’re no longer sexually active.

You have had a hysterectomy for an abnormal pap smear.

Q. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE A PAP TEST DONE?

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