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Gynecology and Obstetrics

Pap Smear

The Pap Smear is an essential procedure for the early prevention and detection of Cervical Cancer

Pap Smear

The Pap Smear is an essential medical procedure in Gynecology designed for the early prevention and detection of Cervical Cancer. During this exam, an ObGyn collects cells from the cervix for laboratory analysis, looking for signs of cancer or changes in cells that may become cancerous, known as precancerous. This test is a reliable tool for identifying cancer in its early stages, facilitating more effective and timely treatment.

Other names for the Pap smear include cervical cytology, exfoliating cytology, vaginal cytology, Pap test, and Papanicolaou test.

What is the Purpose of a Pap Smear?

The primary purpose of a Pap smear is to detect abnormalities in cervical cells that could develop into cancer. In some cases, these cells are also examined for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a known factor causing cellular changes that can lead to cancer. Pap and HPV tests are crucial in the early detection of cervical cancer, significantly reducing the incidence and mortality from this disease.

Who Should Get a Pap Smear and How Often?

The general recommendation is for women between 21 and 65 to undergo regular Pap smears. The frequency of the Pap smear varies depending on age and previous results. Generally, it is recommended:

  • Between 21 and 29 years, the test is recommended every three years if the results were normal in the last Pap Smear.

  • Between 30 and 65 years, the test is recommended every three years if the results were normal in the last Pap Smear.

If an HPV test is done, it is recommended to have the test after five years.

Women at higher risk of uterine cancer might need to be tested more frequently or after 65 years.

Risk factors include:

  • Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer

  • History of abnormal tests where precancerous cells were found

  • HIV infection

  • Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol

  • Weakened Immune System

  • History of smoking

How to Prepare for the Test?

To ensure maximum effectiveness of your Pap smear, consider the following recommendations before the exam:

  • Abstain from sexual intercourse, using vaginal douches, or applying any type of vaginal medication, foams, creams, or spermicidal gels for two days before the test. These actions can remove or disguise abnormal cells crucial for detection.

  • Try not to schedule your Pap smear during your menstrual period. Choose a date outside those days for more precise results.

What Do the Results Mean?

Pap smear results can be expected, unclear, or abnormal.

A typical result indicates the absence of abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix.

  • An unclear or unsatisfactory result may require additional testing.

  • An abnormal result indicates abnormal changes in the cervical cells. In most cases, this does not mean there is the presence of cervical cancer. However, follow-up is suggested to rule out or treat significant cellular changes.

Getting a Pap Smear is vital for gynecological health. If you are in the recommended age range or have specific concerns, we invite you to schedule an appointment at BlueNetHospitals. Our dedicated ObGyn team is ready to support you in your tests and studies, offering specialized treatment. Prioritize your health!


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