Tags: pap test | cervical cancer | women | detection | hpv

When Does a Woman Need a Pap Test?

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 02:37 AM

Pap test is one of the screening tests used on women for the detection of cervical cancer as well as precancerous processes in the cervical area. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 are recommended the Pap test as well as the human papilloma virus (HPV) test to screen for cervical cancer. The Pap test, named after the prominent Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou, is one of the most effective and reliable screening methods for cervical cancer; however, it does not screen for cancers of the ovaries, uterus, vagina, or vulva.
 
So what does the Pap test entail?  Women, who are 21 and over, can do the Pap test as an outpatient procedure at the doctor’s office for detection of cervical cancer and HPV. A plastic or metal instrument called the speculum is inserted into the woman’s vagina to widen it and to facilitate examination of the vagina and cervix for detection of cervical cancer and HPV. A swab, spatula, or endocervical brush will be rubbed against the opening of the cervix of the uterus to collect mucous and cells to be sent for testing. For detection of abnormalities, these cells will be examined under a microscope. If your results are normal, then it is all right to wait up to three years for the next screening of cervical cancer. If the Pap test results are abnormal, the test needs to be repeated every six to twelve months.
 
Women in their twenties should have a pap test done every two years, starting three years after becoming sexually active. Regardless of how often you have a Pap smear, it is imperative to have a pelvic exam done every year. Women over 65 do not benefit from the Pap test for detection of slow-growing cervical cancer and HPV. Women who are menopausal or postmenopausal should continue to have Pap tests for detection of cervical cancer. Women over 65 with three previous normal Pap tests and no abnormal pap tests in the previous 10 years need not continue testing. However, older women should continue to test for detection of any abnormality.
 
Dos and Don’ts of Cervical Cancer Detection for the Pap Test

• Do not schedule a Pap test during the time when you expect your period or when it is actually on.
• Prior to the test do not douche the vagina with water or any other fluids.
• Do not have sex at least three days before the Pap test.
• Do not use a tampon just before the Pap test.
• Avoid using birth control gels, creams, and foams as well as medicated creams before the Pap test.

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Health-Wire
Pap test is the most common method of detection of cervical cancer in women. Cancer deaths in women can be reduced by up to 80 percent when Pap test is combined with pelvic examination, regular program of screening, and appropriate follow-up. Pap test will help in the detection of HPV.
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Monday, 06 Jan 2014 02:37 AM
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