What is Pap smear?
This is a test to screen for cervical cancer. With this test we try to detect any abnormal cells which may turn into cancer over the years. A smear is taken from the neck of the womb and the cells collected are then analysed.
What is abnormal Pap smear?
An abnormal Pap smear result means that some abnormal cells have been detected in the cervical smear. Low grade abnormality (mild dysplasia) usually resolves on its own and very rarely progresses into high grade abnormality or cancer. High grade abnormality (moderate/severe dysplasia) is more serious and can potentially progress into cancer in 30% of people over several years if left untreated. Depending on your age, previous Pap smear history and degree of abnormality on current Pap smear, your doctor may determine whether you need further investigations.
When does Pap smear screening start?
At present a Pap smear is recommended for all women every 2 years. Screening should start at 18 years of age or 2 years after first sexual intercourse, whichever is later. It is recommended to stop screening at 70 years of age if previous 2 Pap smears were negative.
What are going to be new recommendations from 1/12/2017?
Cervical screening will start at 25 years of age and will be recommended every 5 years. Screening will stop at age 74.
Instead of collecting Pap smears that detect cells ,there will be a HPV test that detects virus responsible for turning normal cells into precancerous or cancerous cells.
If no HPV is found at screening, you will be invited for the next screen in 5 years.
If HPV is detected virus will be found, further testing will be done at laboratory and colposcopy may be indicated.
What is colposcopy?
This is an investigation of cervical abnormality with colposcope (magnifying instrument). During this procedure your doctor may take sa mall biopsy to further evaluate abnormality.
Do I need Pap smear if I had hysterectomy?
If you had a total hysterectomy (where the whole cervix was removed as well) or if you had vaginal hysterectomy and you had normal pap smears prior, then you do not need any further pap smears.
Do you need an appointment?
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