Cervical Cancer Screening

Things You Must Know About Pap Smear

Do you know that the fourth most common cancer amongst women is Cervical cancer, It can prove fatal unless taken action at the right time. As the old saying “prevention is better than cure,” the best preventive method is to get a Pap smear test done on time. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with HPV.

What is a cervical screening (a smear test)?

Cervical screening is a health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for the cell changes that is abnormal cells In your cervix caused by high-risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). During this procedure, the cells from the cervix, the lowermost part of the uterus are collected. The test can detect if there are any abnormalities in the cells of the cervix, that could be an indication of initial signs of cancer. Earlier the disease is detected, higher is your chance of getting treated successfully.

Why is cervical cancer screening important?

It usually takes 3-7 yrs for high grade changes in cervical cells to become cancer. Women with high grade changes can be treated.

When should you get your pap smear test?

Ideally, one should opt for regular pap smears once you are:

  • between the ages of 25 to 64
  • every 3 years between age 25 and 49
  • every 5 years between age 50 and 64.

We have more information if you are under 25 or if you are 65 or over.
If you are worried about any symptoms, you should get them checked by your doctor on time.

Can I get cervical screening if I am pregnant?

It is usually recommended that you do not get your cervical screening while you are or could be pregnant. Pregnancy can make the result of your test harder to interpret.

If you are invited for cervical screening while you are pregnant, inform your doctor or nurse that you are pregnant. You should wait until 3 months after your baby is born to have the test done.

Follow the instruction by your General Practitioner or Gynaecologist

How is Pap smear done?

The whole procedure takes just a few minutes. The sample is collected from the cervix and sent to the laboratory. You might feel slight pressure, but this test does not hurt.

The results

The results will be labelled either positive or negative. A negative report means that the test did not find any abnormalities in the cells of your cervix. A positive result does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. It could be inflammation or a tumour, and in such case, your doctor will recommend another pap smear, and if that too turns positive, you will have to undergo a colposcopy.

Cervical cancer can take a toll on both your mind and body. To avoid this, you should get a Pap smear test done at regular intervals.