Pap Smear Tests – What You Need to Know
Cervical cancer is a largely preventable form of cancer that is responsible for one-third of all global deaths. Principally caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), this sexually transmitted virus affects a large section of India’s middle-aged population.
Pap smears are efficient tests that can help test for cervical cancer as well as detect any early signs of cancer-related abnormalities in your cervix. Here are a few things you need to know about this life-saving screening test.
How Do Pap Smear Tests Work?
It is important to understand that PAP smear tests are not tests for detecting either sexually transmitted diseases or cancers of the cervix. PAP smear tests perform the vital function of helping physicians identify any abnormal cell growth (caused by HPV) that are in turn good indicators of any gestating cancers.
How Regularly Should One Get a Pap Smear Test?You should start getting routine PAP smear tests within three years of becoming sexually active or by the time you turn 21 ( whichever comes first). Subsequently, make it a point to continue getting a PAP smear test every 3 years till you turn 65.
Are There Any Precautions I Need to Take Before a Pap Smear?
How Is a Pap Smear Test Done?
A Pap smear test is a painless procedure that is conducted by means of a simple cervical swab. Your physician will collect cell samples from your vagina by means of a cotton swab. This sample will then be analysed in a lab for any abnormal cell growth anomalies. The entire procedure should take about 10-15 minutes from start to finish.
I Have an Abnormal Pap Smear Reading, What Does it Mean?
An abnormal Pap smear signifies the growth of aberrant cells in your cervical tract. Your doctor might require further tests like a colposcopy to obtain more tissue samples to confirm the exact nature of this cellular anomaly and prescribe the most appropriate treatment path.
How to Decode Your Pap Smear Results
Pap score tests results are binary in nature. This means that they can return with either positive or negative values. A negative score signifies an absence of any cellular abnormalities, while a positive score indicates the presence of abnormal cell growths (that could potentially be early stage cancer growths).
It is important to note that a positive Pap smear score isn't always a sure sign of a cancerous growth. Your test can return positive scores also if you have problems like Dysplasia ( minor changes in your cellular structure) or mild inflammation. Finally, don't miss your scheduled tests to avoid late detection of cervical cancer.
Sign Up for Alerts
Be notified of new events