What is a Pap Test?
The Pap Test also known as a Pap smear, checks for changes in the cells of your cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina (birth canal). The Pap test can tell if you have an infection, abnormal (unhealthy) cervical cells, or cervical cancer.
Why do I need a Pap Test?
A Pap test can save your life. It can find the earliest signs of cervical cancer. If caught early, the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high. Pap tests also can find infections and abnormal cervical cells that can turn into cancer cells. Treatment can prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing. Getting regular Pap tests is the best thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer. In fact, regular Pap tests have led to a major decline in the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths.
My Pap test was “abnormal”, what happens now?
There are many reasons for “abnormal” Pap test results. If results of the Pap test are unclear or show a small change in the cells of the cervix, your doctor will probably repeat the Pap test. If the test finds more serious changes in the cells of the cervix, the doctor will suggest more powerful tests. Results of these tests will help your doctor decide on the best treatment.
The doctor uses a tool called a colposcope to see the cells of the vagina and cervix in detail.
The doctor takes a sample of cells from the endocervical canal with a small spoon-shaped tool called a curette.
The doctor removes a small sample of cervical tissue. The sample is sent to a lab to be studied under a microscope.
United States Department of Health and Human Services