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.
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.
A pap smear is recommended for women who are -
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 –
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.
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.
You can resume your day to day activities immediately after the test as there is no physical strain during the test.
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.
The test is to be repeated every three to five years.
A pap smear is a routine cancer screening test. There are no alternatives to it.
A cervical smear test is often known as a Pap test and is done to establish the changes that might have occurred in cells of the cervix. A small sample of cells is taken from the surface of the cervix and is tested for any abnormalities. The sample is spread on a slide or in some cases mixed with a liquid fixative and studied under a microscope. It is one of the most popular methods to test the abnormalities in your cells and can pinpoint point cervical cancers.
About the test
A typical cervical smear or Pap test is done to identify the changes that have happened to the cells of the cervix. Diagnosing them early can be beneficial in many ways and can lower your chance of cervical cancer. PAP smear or a cervical smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. For other cases, once the results of the cell growth are identified it is safe to seek other tests and medical options for diagnosis.
The procedure of typical Pap smear
The test is mostly recommended when you do not have the periods as the blood can interfere with the results. Also, before taking the test discuss with your doctor about the medications you are taking and in case you are under any birth control pills. No other special preparations are needed for the Pap test. Feel free to discuss with your doctor about the impact the test will have on you or on the pain levels, etc.The test is done by inserting a speculum into the vagina, which spreads it further. Later, a cotton swab is inserted to get the samples of cells from your cervix. The cells from the vagina are also collected in some cases and tested accordingly.
The risks involved
There no chances of risks when you go for such tests. You might feel a bit of pressure in your vaginal region and may experience a small bleeding after the testing. However, this is extremely normal. Also, there is no pain involved. If you experience heavy period and blood loss, you might experience minor discomfort when the test is being done.
The final result
Once the test is done, the results would be available usually within a week. The results can be categorized into normal and abnormal. If your cells are normal and no abnormality is found then the condition is termed as a normal result. In the case of abnormality in the cell structure, then it requires further evaluation and diagnosis to rule out cancer. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Cervical cancer can throw life completely off balance. It is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women worldwide. Lack of an early diagnosis makes this life threatening condition almost untreatable. A Pap smear also referred to as a Pap Test comes as a ray of hope for many women.
A Pap smear is a screening test that plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis and detection of cervical cancer in women. A Pap smear may further be used to point out any abnormalities in the cervical cells which may have a potential to turn malignant in the future. Doctors recommend all women (between 21-65 years of age) to undergo a pap smear to be on the safer side. While most women are advised to repeat the pap smear between every 3-5 years, women with the following conditions or ailments should be extra careful.
The above mentioned conditions do not necessarily imply a 100% probability of cervical cancer. Consult your doctor and follow the necessary advice and precautions.
The procedure involved in a Pap smear
The Pap test is not a very tedious process and is often carried out in the doctor's clinic itself. The person to undergo the test is made to lie down on her back (the knees should be in a bent position). The physician then carefully inserts a speculum into the vagina. The main idea is to widen the vaginal walls so that the doctor can have a clear view of the cervix. Next, using a spatula, the doctor will collect samples of your cervical cells and send it for examination.
The significance of the Pap smear result
Further, there can be
A Pap smear is for your good. Go for a Pap smear and also encourage women in your circle to indulge in this healthy practice. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Cervical cancer is a form of cancer which occurs in the cervix or the lower part of the uterus in women, which opens up into the vagina. Its different from the other cancers that occur in other parts of the uterus and has a high rate of being cured if detected early.
Causes of Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer is usually caused when abnormal cells present in the cervix, get out of control. Usually, major cases of cervical cancer are caused by a virus known as the human papillomavirus or HPV. This virus gets transmitted from one person to another by sexual means or sexual contact. Abnormal changes in the cervix cells lead to cervical cancer. Usually, cell changes occur in the transformation zone in the cervix as the cells tend to change constantly, thereby leading to cancer.
How it can be diagnosed?
A routine screening test should be undertaken to observe any abnormal cell changes in the cervix and also for the screening for cervical cancer. Taking regular Pap smear test is recommended to detect abnormal cell changes so that cervical cancer can be prevented before hand. Other diagnostic tests include, Colposcopy and cervical biopsy to determine the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix, Endocervical biopsy and Cone biopsy.
Treatment options available:
Cervical cancer can be treated when detected at an early stage. The type of treatment depends on the stage and type of cervical cancer. The most common treatment methods are as follows:
Pelvic cancer is caused by abnormal cell changes in the pelvis. It is a common kind of cancer and can cause negative effects on the health. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for treating pelvic cancer. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
Regular medical checkups and tests can be very helpful in prevention of cancer and growth of malignant cells or tumours. With the increase in the rates of cervical cancer, gynaecological checkups are of utmost need. For effective cervical cancer prevention, Pap smear bears the maximum number of success rates.
Pap smear is a medical procedure that helps to detect cancer or signs of other cervical infections. The Pap smear test however cannot detect ovarian cell cancer or uterine cancer. It is known to detect changes only in the vaginal cells and cervical dysplasia. Cervical dysplasia refers to the growth of pre-cancerous cells.
How this test is conducted?
1. Pap smear is conducted when the woman is not menstruating.
2. An instrument called speculum is inserted into one’s vagina to be able to access the cervix more easily.
3. Pap smear involves the collection of sample cells from the outer cervix area.
4. Cervical brush is inserted into the speculum and the sample cells are collected.
5. Then, the samples are put on a glass slide for further evaluation.
6. The Pap smear procedure takes only a few minutes bu can prevent serious medical problems in the long run.
7. The Pap smear is not a painful procedure, though it may be slightly uncomfortable for a few minutes only.
Who can undergo Pap smear?
1. Women can undergo Pap smear procedures once they are of 21 years of age and are generally sexually active
2. Women can go for pap smears up to the age of 70
3. Pap smears should be conducted preferably every two or three years
4. Women aged 65 and above and who have had no abnormalities in the last three consecutive tests, may stop taking pap smears
5. Before undergoing the test, it is important to stop douching and using vaginal creams for at least 2 days.
6. If there has been a case of multiple and frequent change of sexual partners, then you must go for Pap smear frequently
7. Women with weak immune system and who bear the risk of HIV Aids
8. Women who are heavy smokers
Cancer or the big ‘C’ can affect any part of the body including the female reproductive system. These types of cancer are known as gynaecological cancers. Gynaecological cancers occur when normal cells start growing in an uncontrolled manner. There are many different types of gynaecological cancers which are named as per the organs in which they first develop. These include:
Gynaecological cancers are more commonly diagnosed in cases where the woman has a family history of cancer or has mutated genes. Advancing in age, exposure to hormones, and diethylstilbestrol can also increase the risk of suffering from such cancers. Additionally, viral infections such as human papilloma virus, obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking have also been identified as risk factors for cancer.
However, a woman may suffer from these types of cancer even if she does not fall into any of the above risk factor categories. Hence, it becomes important to focus on the symptoms. The symptoms of gynaecological cancers depend on the organ from where the tumour originated, the size of the tumour and it’s rate of growth.
Some of the symptoms which may be noticed are:
Gynaecological cancers can be treated by using chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal therapies or surgery depending on the stage of the cancer and the type of cancer. Hence, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better it is. Keeping the risk factors in mind, if the above symptoms are noticed, the doctor may ask for a number of tests to diagnose gynaecological cancers.
These tests include:
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist and ask a free question.