A pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It tests for presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. The cervix is opening of the uterus. During this procedure cells from the cervix are gently scraped away and are examined for abnormal growth. This is an office procedure. It may be mildly uncomfortable, but does not usually cause any long term pain.
|Age||Pap smear frequency|
|<21 yrs, not sexually active No known risk factor||Not needed|
|<21 yrs, sexually active||Every 3 yrs|
|21-29 yrs||Every 3 yrs|
|30-65 yrs||Every 3-5 yrs if pap test and HPV test are negative|
|65 yrs and above|
Normal pap smear means that you probably won’t need a pap smear for another three years.
Abnormal pap smear does not mean that you have cancer, but it simply means that you have abnormal cells on the cervix which can be precancerous and you may need more frequent pap smear testing or a closer look at your cervix by colposcopy or a sample of your cervical tissue by biopsy.
Regular pap screening reduces cervical cancer rates by 80%