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Pap Smear: What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer Prevention

Pap Smear

What is a pap smear? 

A screening process for women to detect cervical cancer is known as a pap smear. It can also be called a pap test. A pap smear is done for the purpose of discovering if there are precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. 
The opening of the uterus is known as the cervix. During the pap smear, cells on the cervix are gently removed and examined for abnormal growth.

Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix. Sexually transmitted infection can lead to cervical cancer, therefore if a person experiences these symptoms, a pap smear is highly recommended;
  • · Redness of the vagina
  • · Pain when having intercourse
  • · Pain while urinating
  • · Vaginal itching
  • · Foul vagina odor
  • · Excessive vagina discharge

How is a Pap smear done?

Before the test, the following should be done:

· Avoid sexual intercourse

· Avoid douching

· Avoid using spermicidal products.

· Allow your menstruation to be over before booking an appointment with the doctor.

You will be asked by the doctor, to lie on your back, legs spread on an examination table, your feet will rest in support called stirrups.

A speculum will be inserted by the doctor into your vagina This device helps to keep the walls of the vagina open, thereby providing easy access to the cervix.

A small quantity of cells will be scraped off of your cervix by the doctor.

The doctor will use a tool called a spatula and a brush, or a cytobrush.

Cells removed from your cervix will be sent to a laboratory to test for the presence of abnormal cells.

You would feel slight discomfort after the scraping. Some women even bleed in the vagina just after the test, but not for long. If bleeding or discomfort continues days after the test, inform your doctor.

The results of a pap smear will either be normal or abnormal. If it is normal, that means the test didn't discover any abnormal cells and a pap smear will not be needed till 3 years' time.

However, if the results are abnormal, it means abnormal cells have been discovered in your cervix, which could be precancerous. There are different levels of abnormal cells. They are:
  • · Atypia
  • · Mild
  • · Moderate
  • · Severe
  • · Carcinoma in situ
Depending on your test results, your doctor will recommend;

· Another pap smear

· Using a colposcopy procedure to look at your cervical tissue thoroughly.

The aim of the test is not to detect or identify sexually transmitted diseases. Identifying cellular changes in the cervix area is the purpose of a pap smear.

Purpose and Benefit of a pap smear

· It helps to prevent cervical cancer.

· Early detection of precancerous cells would mean early treatment and also prevent spending huge sums of money for treatment.

Cancer is a deadly disease. Cervical cancer can result from a sexually transmitted infection, so once you notice any irregularities in your body, especially your private part, visit a gynecologist. Allow your doctor to check you thoroughly. 

Don't play with cervical cancer. Every woman should have a pap smear, don't wait till you have symptoms.

Until then, take care of yourself.

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