Introduction to pap smear test
The pap smear test is the test doctors use most commonly in order to detect signs of cervical cancer.
When the test is done, the doctor will know whether there are any abnormal cells present, which could indicate that a cancer is present or has a chance of developing.
It is the best possible prevention for cervical cancer to have pap smear tests done regularly.
A women that has cervical cancer and has pap smear tests performed regularly will have a better chance of an early diagnosis. Procedure
The doctor will scrape some cells from the cervix, or the uterus or womb.
The purpose of the test is to look for cancerous cell growth in the cervix, which can be a sign of cervical cancer.
Once a woman reaches 21 years of age, she should begin having regular pap smear tests.
Until the age of 29, the procedure should be performed every two years. After that, if should be conducted every three years.
If cervical cancer is diagnosed early, it is treatable in 90% of cases.
Before going to get a pap smear test done, the woman must abstain from sex, douching a applying vaginal creams for at least two days before the test.
The test is performed by a doctor, who inserts a speculum into the vagina, which widens the vagina so that the cervix will be visible.
Then, the doctor will take a cotton swab and a small spatula to scrape some cells from the area.
The cells are then sent to a laboratory for evaluation.
Even though the test only takes a couple of minutes, it will take several weeks for the test result to come back from the laboratory.
If the test comes back normal, then there will not have to be any more procedures, however, if some abnormal cells are seen in the test, more pap smears will have to be done until the reason behind the abnormal cells is confirmed.
Sometimes the doctor will also call for other procedures to try and diagnose the problem, such as a colonoscopy.
If there are abnormal cells present, it does not automatically mean that the person has cancer, but it is usually a good indicator for early diagnosis.
There is a laser surgery that doctors will usually recommend in order to get rid of the cancerous cells that are confirmed to be located on the cervix.
This treatment will destroy the cells by burning and vaporizing them.
Cryosurgery is another option. In this procedure, the cells are frozen off.