What is the treatment?
A pap smear is necessary for early cancer detection in women. The test not only screens for cervical cancer in women but is also designed to detect abnormal cells in the cervix in order to determine the patient’s predisposition for developing cancer.
The test involves taking sample cells from the cervix, which is the opening of the vagina and testing them for abnormalities. The lab testing of the cells takes place within a few days of your test. Since the test is used to screen for possible pre-cancerous cells in the cervix, any abnormalities which are found are to be followed up by further testing. Further tests might include tests such as a colonoscopy. Cell abnormalities, however, are often caused due to inflammation, so it is not necessarily an indicator of the development of precancerous cells. HPV tests are often conducted at the same time as a pap smear, as it is extremely common for sexually active adults to contract the STD.
It is usually recommended that people get pap smears every three to five years. However, if the need arises, pap smears can be performed within six months of the last test without any problems. While countries such as the United States recommend that sexually active women have pap smears done every three to five years, many countries do not abide by this timeline and recommend pap smears on a patient to patient basis. Despite the fact, it is important for sexually active women to have pap smears as it can lead to early detection of cancer.
How is the treatment done?
A pap smear involves taking cells from your cervix and testing them for abnormalities. The test only lasts for ten to twenty minutes and your results are confirmed between five days to two weeks.
When you go in for the test you are asked questions about your medical history after which you have to lie on a table with your feet placed in stirrups. A speculum is inserted into your vagina in order to widen the opening. The doctor then takes a swab to collect a sample of cells and then places the cells in a liquid substance. After this is over, your sample is tested in a lab and your results are made available to you in a few days. While you may feel some discomfort during the test, there is no lasting soreness or pain.
If the test is negative, it indicates that there are no abnormal cells in your cervix and you can return for another routine pap smear in three to five years. If the test is positive, it indicates that abnormal cells have been detected. It does not necessarily mean that said cells are cancerous, but it does mean that your doctor will prescribe further tests to determine the nature of the abnormal cells.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
A pap smear is recommended for women who are -
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
A pap smear is recommended for sexually active women between the ages of 21 and 60. You do not require a pap smear if you are –
Are there any side effects?
There are no negative effects of getting a pap smear. Women under the age of 21 are recommended not to get pap smears as it could delay the detection of cancer or HPV. There is no soreness or pain after the test procedure is completed, so you can get back to your daily activities immediately after.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
While you might temporarily feel some soreness after your test, you can continue with your daily routine after a Pap Smear. There is no aftercare required post-procedure. You can expect to get your test results within two weeks of undergoing the test. Once your doctor has your test results, they can suggest whether or not you need any follow-up tests based on any abnormalities they may have found. If your test is completely negative, you can just go back for your next pap smear three to five years later.
How long does it take to recover?
You can resume your day to day activities immediately after the test as there is no physical strain during the test.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
The test can cost between Rs. 200 and Rs. 1500 depending on the area in which you live and the cost of medical care in the area.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The test is to be repeated every three to five years.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
A pap smear is a routine cancer screening test. There are no alternatives to it.