Pap Smear also known as Papanicolaou smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It is a microscopic examination of cells scraped from the cervix and is used to detect abnormal cervical cells (precancerous cells) which helps to treat cancer in early stage.
WHO SHOULD UNDERGO PAP SMEAR AND HOW FREQUENT
-All women aged more than 20 years and below 65 years
-Pap Smear done once in 3 years
-HPV Liquid based cytology is done once in 5 years
However in some conditions, if recommended once a year in following people
On abnormal Pap Smear
- HIV Patients
- Weak immune system due to organ transplant, chemotherapy,
Chronic corticosteroid use
- Smoking women
Pap Smear not to be done in following
After total hysterectomy, where uterus with cervix fully removed for non-cancerous indication. If hysterectomy done for precancerous and cancer indication, then routine PAP Smear has to be done.
-Age 65yrs and above
Draw back of PAP smear test are
The false negative results, because of the following reasons
-Inadequate collection of cells
-Blood or inflammatory cells obscuring the abnormal cells.
Although it’s possible for abnormal cells to go undetected, time is on your side as cervical cancer takes several years to develop and if one test doesn’t detect the abnormal cells, the next test most likely will detect.
How to prepare
To ensure that your PAP smear is most effective, follow these tips prior to your test.
Avoid intercourse or any vaginal douching or medicine for 2 days before having a PAP smear, as these may wash away or obscure abnormal cells.
-Not to do during menstrual periods.
If abnormal cells were seen in PAP smear
A colposcopy examination done for cervical tissue biopsy to diagnose cancer.