Topic: Pap Smear, ALL you need to know.
This is a VERY important test, highly recommended for ALL women of reproductive age.
This test, also called a Pap test, is a screening test for cervical cancer. It is used in early detection of precancerous/ cancerous cells in the cervix. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix, which is the opening of the womb, that connects to the vagina. Have you ever done a Pap smear?
Have you done it routinely if you did previously?
During this routine test, cells from the cervix are carefully collected by gentle scraping and then examined for abnormal (precancerous/ cancerous) growth. This procedure is a minor procedure done in a day at your doctor’s office. It may be slightly uncomfortable with little pain, but doesn’t usually pain afterwards on long term basis.
Pap smear, also called Pap test is named after Georgios Papanicolaou, a Greek doctor who determined that this test was a useful way to detect signs of cervical cancer in women.
Who Is Pap Smear Meant For?
Generally, most women are advised to start getting regular Pap smears from age 21. However, some women may be at increased risk for cancer or infection, and will require more frequent testing.
These women include:
1. Women who are HIV-positive
2. Women who have a weakened immune system from chemotherapy or an organ transplant.
3. Also, if you’re over 30 and have had three abnormal Pap tests in a row,
If you have had three normal pap test in a row and you are above 30 years, you should ask your doctor about having one every five years if the test is combined with a human papillomavirus (HPV) screening.
This is a virus that causes warts, and also the primary causes of cervical cancer. HPV have different types, of which are HPV types 16 and 18 are the cancer-causing types. So, by default, if you have HPV, you may have an increased risk for developing cervical cancer.
Generally, women over the age of 65 with a history of normal Pap test results may be able to stop having Pap smears in the future.
PLEASE NOTE, it is still recommended that you still get regular Pap smears even if you’re in a monogamous relationship. That’s because the HPV virus can be dormant for years, and then suddenly become active.
How Frequent do you need a Pap smear?
The frequency of Pap smear is determined by some key factors which include; your age and risk.
Age Pap smear frequency
1. <21 years old, not sexually active, no known risk factors none needed
2. <21 years old, sexually active every 3 years
3. 21-29 every 3 years
4. 30-65 every 3-5 years if your Pap smear and HPV test are negative
5. 65 and older you may no longer need Pap smear tests; talk to your doctor to determine your needs.
Dr Chudi Godsons
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