During the Pap test, the doctor will use a plastic or metal instrument, called a speculum, to widen your vagina. This helps the doctor examine the vagina and the cervix, and collect a few cells and mucus from the cervix and the area around it. The cells are sent to a laboratory. You should not schedule your test for a time when you are having your period. If you are going to have a test in the next two days—. You should start getting Pap tests at age If your Pap test result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test. If you have a low income or do not have health insurance, you may be able to get a free or low-cost screening test through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Find out if you qualify. It can take as long as three weeks to receive your test results. If your test shows that something might not be normal, your doctor will contact you and figure out how best to follow up. There are many reasons why test results might not be normal. It usually does not mean you have cancer. If your test results show cells that are not normal and may become cancer, your doctor will let you know if you need to be treated. In most cases, treatment prevents cervical cancer from developing. It is important to follow up with your doctor right away to learn more about your test results and receive any treatment that may be needed. If your test results are normal, your chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is low. Your doctor may tell you that you can wait several years for your next screening test. But you should still go to the doctor regularly for a checkup. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link. Cervical Cancer. Section Navigation. Minus Related Pages. Knowledge Is Power: Cervical Cancer. Knowledge is Power: Cervical Cancer. If you are going to have a test in the next two days— You should not douche rinse the vagina with water or another fluid. You should not use a tampon. You should not have sex. You should not use a birth control foam, cream, or jelly. You should not use a medicine or cream in your vagina. Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines. Preventive Services Task Force, external icon and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists external icon regarding— When to start screening. Screening methods and intervals. When to stop screening. Screening after a total hysterectomy. Pelvic exams.
What is pap smear test and how is it done?
George Nicholas Papanicolaou was a pioneer in elucidating the physiology and cytologic characteristics of the female reproductive system. He is best known for creating the Papanicolaou test, commonly known as the Pap smear, which revolutionised the early detection of cervical cancer. Born on May 13,in the town of Kimi on the island of Euboea, Greece, Papanicolaou was one of four children. He attended the University of Athens, majoring not in biology, but music and the humanities. However, his physician father influenced his eventual decision to pursue a career in medicine. Inhe graduated from medical school with top honours. After graduation, Papanicolaou worked in the military as an assistant surgeon for a short time, then returned to his hometown, Kimi. For the next two years, he cared for leprosy patients on the outskirts of his hometown. These outcasts were socially isolated, and Papanicolaou gave them both medical and personal care with compassion and grace. However, his desire to work in science soon took hold and he travelled to the University of Munich in Germany, receiving a PhD in zoology in At this leading research institution, he worked with Professor Ernst Haeckel, one of the first great supporters of Darwinism. Shortly thereafter, Papanicolaou married Andromache Mavroyeni Marywho was from a famous military family. The young couple returned to Greece following the death of his mother. However, he became interested in career opportunities in the United States US and decided to emigrate, arriving in New York on October 19, Arriving with little money and no arrangements for employment, both Papanicolaou and his wife were forced to take any job that they could get. Mary worked at a department store as a seamstress and Papanicolaou was a rug salesman at the same store, but he lasted only one day. He subsequently took other jobs: violin player in a restaurant and clerk at a Greek newspaper. Inwhile studying sex chromosomes, he deduced that reproductive cycles in the experimental animals could be timed by examining smears of their vaginal secretions. Fromhe began to focus on the cytopathology of the human reproductive system. He was thrilled when he was able to discern differences between the cytology of normal and malignant cervical cells upon a simple viewing of swabs smeared on microscopic slides. Although his initial publication of the finding in went largely unnoticed, that year was filled with other happy events for Papanicolaou. As part of his research at the New York Hospital, he collaborated with Dr Herbert Traut, a gynaecological pathologist, eventually publishing their landmark book inDiagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear. It described physiological changes of the menstrual cycle and the influence of hormones and malignancy on vaginal cytology. Importantly, it showed that normal and abnormal smears taken from the vagina and cervix could be viewed under the microscope and be correctly classified. The simple procedure, now famously known as the Pap smear or test, quickly became the gold standard in screening for cervical cancer. As it cost little, was easy to perform and could be interpreted accurately, the Pap smear found widespread use and resulted in a significant decline in the incidence of cervical cancer.
Pap smear video
A Pap smear can reveal the presence of suspicious cells on the cervix that need further testing or treatment, which is why it's recommended that women have the test done by their physician regularly. A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer. If only normal cervical cells were discovered during your Pap smear, you're said to have a negative result. You won't need any further treatment or testing until you're due for your next Pap smear and pelvic exam. If abnormal or unusual cells were discovered during your Pap smear, you're said to have a positive result. A positive result doesn't mean you have cervical cancer. What a positive result means depends on the type of cells discovered in your test. Squamous cells are thin and flat and grow on the surface of a healthy cervix. In the case of ASCUS, the Pap smear reveals slightly abnormal squamous cells, but the changes don't clearly suggest that precancerous cells are present. These conditions can cause cervical cells to appear abnormal. If no high-risk viruses are present, the abnormal cells found as a result of the test aren't of great concern. If worrisome viruses are present, you'll need further testing. If the changes are low gradeit means the size, shape, and other characteristics of the cells suggest that if a precancerous lesion is present, it's likely to be years away from becoming cancer. If the changes are high grade, there's a greater chance that the lesion may develop into cancer much sooner. Glandular cells produce mucus and grow in the opening of your cervix and within your uterus. Atypical glandular cells may appear to be abnormal, which raises a worry for the presence of precancer or cancer. This result means the cells collected for the Pap smear appear so abnormal that the pathologist is almost certain a cancer is present. If such cells are found, your doctor will recommend a prompt evaluation. Follow-up depends on the type of abnormality seen. Sometimes, only repeat testing is needed. Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions. Your doctor also may take a tissue sample biopsy from any areas that appear abnormal. The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and a definitive diagnosis. Based on these results, you may need treatment to remove any abnormal cells. After treatment, you will need to continue follow-up for cervical cancer screenings. Remain educated about your cervical health and keep up with your pap smears. Another tidbit is to remember not to have sex, doucheor use tampons or other vaginal hygiene products 48 hours prior to your Pap smear test, as these can give false results. Limiting processed foods and red meats can help ward off cancer risk. These recipes focus on antioxidant-rich foods to better protect you and your loved ones. Sign up and get your guide! American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Frequently asked questions: abnormal cervical cancer screening tests. Int J Biomed Sci. American Cancer Society. The Pap Papanicolaou test. Updated December 9,
Pap smear test results
The Pap test is a procedure that collects cells from the cervix so that they can be looked at closely in the lab to find cancer and pre-cancer. The health care professional first places a speculum inside the vagina. The speculum is a metal or plastic instrument that keeps the vagina open so that the cervix can be seen clearly. A small brush or a cotton-tipped swab is then inserted into the opening of the cervix to take a sample from the endocervix. The samples are then looked at in the lab. One of the limitations of the Pap test is that the results need to be examined by the human eye, so an accurate analysis of the hundreds of thousands of cells in each sample is not always possible. Engineers, scientists, and doctors are working together to improve this test. Many people confuse pelvic exams with Pap tests. During a pelvic exam, the doctor looks at and feels the reproductive organs, including the uterus and the ovaries and may do tests for sexually transmitted disease. Pelvic exams may help find other types of cancers and reproductive problems. A Pap test can be done during a pelvic exambut sometimes a pelvic exam is done without a Pap test. A Pap test is needed to find early cervical cancer or pre-cancers so ask your doctor if you had a Pap test with your pelvic exam. There are 3 main categories, some of which have sub-categories:. You may need further testing if your Pap test showed any of the abnormalities below. This category means that no signs of cancer, pre-cancer, or other significant abnormalities were found. There may be findings that are unrelated to cervical cancer, such as signs of infection with yeast, herpes, or Trichomonas vaginalis a type of sexually transmitted diseasefor example. This means that the cells lining the cervix or vagina show changes that might be cancer or a pre-cancer. This category is divided into several groups for squamous cells and glandular cells. Atypical squamous cells ASCs This category includes two types of abnormalities:. Squamous intraepithelial lesions SILs These abnormalities are divided into two categories:. Further tests are needed if SIL is seen on a Pap test. If treatment is needed, it can cure most SILs and prevent invasive cancer from forming. Further testing will be done to be sure of the diagnosis before treatment can be planned. Atypical glandular cells: When the glandular cells do not look normal, but they have concerning features that could be cancerous, the term used is atypical glandular cells AGC. In this case, the patient should have more testing done. Adenocarcinoma: Cancers of the glandular cells are called adenocarcinomas. In some cases, the doctor examining the cells can tell whether the adenocarcinoma started in the endocervix, in the uterus endometriumor elsewhere in the body. This category is for other types of cancer that hardly ever affect the cervix, such as malignant melanoma, sarcomas, and lymphoma. Other malignant neoplasms This category is for other types of cancer that hardly ever affect the cervix, such as malignant melanoma, sarcomas, and lymphoma.
Pap smear test procedure
Cervical cancer screening is an important part of preventing cancer or detecting it early. Two tests are used for screenings: the Pap test or smear and the HPV test. The virus can cause cell changes that lead to cervical cancer. Unclear or inconclusive. This result is common. It means it looks like your cells could be abnormal. This could be because of an infection, such as a yeast infection or the herpes virus. Hormone changes from pregnancy or menopause can also affect test results. Abnormal or positive. This means cell changes were found. In most cases, it does not mean you have cervical cancer. There are different abnormal test results. These are the most common. He or she may also have you come back in 6 to 12 months for another Pap test. If the HPV test is positive and you are older than 25, your doctor will order a colposcopy. During this test, he or she will use a magnifying lens to look more closely at your cervix. They can also take a sample of tissue biopsy to test for cancer. Cells of the cervix go through many changes before they turn into cancer. A Pap test can show if your cells are going through these changes. If caught and treated early, cervical cancer is not life threatening. Talk to your doctor to see how often he or she recommends you receive Pap tests. You may need them or less often, depending on your age and overall health. Abnormal or precancerous cells are often found before cancer develops. If further testing shows that you have precancerous cells, your doctor will want to remove them. He or she will help you decide which treatment is best for you. Sometimes, they will recommend watchful waiting. This could include more frequent Pap tests. Other common treatments include:. Your doctor can perform some of these treatments in his or her office. They usually take only a few minutes. Other treatments require anesthesia, so you go to a hospital for those. If invasive cancer is found, treatment will depend on how far the cancer has spread.
Pap smear test near me
A Pap smear is a test for women that can help find or prevent cervical cancer. During the procedure, cells are collected from the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The cells are checked for cancer or for signs that they may become cancer. These are called precancerous cells. Finding and treating precancerous cells can help prevent cervical cancer. The Pap smear is a reliable way to find cancer early, when it's most treatable. Other names for a Pap smear: Pap test, cervical cytology, Papanicolaou test, Pap smear test, vaginal smear technique. A Pap smear is a way to detect abnormal cervical cells before they become cancer. Sometimes the cells collected from a Pap smear are also checked for HPVa virus that can cause cell changes that may lead to cancer. Pap smears, along with HPV testing, are considered cervical cancer screening tests. Cervical cancer screening has been shown to greatly reduce the number of new cervical cancer cases and deaths from the disease. Screening is not recommended for women or girls under the age of In this age group, the risk of cervical cancer is very low. Also, any changes in cervical cells are likely to go away on their own. Women older than 65 who have had normal Pap smears for several years or have had surgery to remove the uterus and cervix may not need to have Pap smears anymore. If you are unsure whether you need a Pap smear, talk to your health care provider. A Pap smear is often taken during a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, you will lie on an exam table while your health care provider examines your vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, and pelvis to check for any abnormalities. For the Pap smear, your provider will use a plastic or metal instrument called a speculum to open the vagina, so the cervix can be seen. Your provider will then use a soft brush or plastic spatula to collect cells from the cervix.
Pap smear meaning
Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with sexually transmitted oncogenic, or high-risktypes of human papillomavirusor HPV. The primary goal of screening is to identify precancerous lesions caused by HPV so they can be removed to prevent invasive cancers from developing. A secondary goal is to find cervical cancers at an early stagewhen they can usually be treated successfully. Routine cervical screening has been shown to greatly reduce both the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths from the disease. For many years, cytology -based screening, known as the Pap test or Pap smear, was the only method of screening. Its use reduced cervical cancer incidence and deaths in countries where screening is common. Cervical cancer screening can be done in a medical office, a clinic, or a community health center. It is often done during a pelvic examination. This procedure also allows the health care professional to take a sample of cervical cells. Approaches to improve cervical visualization in obese women, including the use of larger speculum, may be helpful. Women should talk with their doctor about when to start screening and how often to be screened. The updated guidelines are as follows:. A joint statement released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology noted that the updated guidelines are largely in line with their clinical guidance, with some differences in the details. Although HPV infection of the cervix is very common, most infections will be controlled by the immune system over the course of 1 to 2 years. Because most HPV infections are transient and produce only temporary changes in cervical cells, overly frequent screening could detect HPV infections or cell changes that would never cause cancer. Treating abnormalities that would have gone away on their own can cause needless psychological stress. Follow-up tests and treatments can also be uncomfortable, and the removal of cervical tissue has the potential to weaken the cervix and may affect fertility or slightly increase the rate of premature delivery, depending on how much tissue is removed. With these intervals, if an HPV infection or cell changes are missed at one screening exam, chances are good that those changes will be detected at the next one, when they can still be treated successfully. The success of cervical cancer screening is due, in part, to the repeat testing that women typically undergo over many years. Therefore, a woman with a negative HPV test and normal Pap test—or just a negative HPV test—has a very low risk of developing precancerous cervical lesions over the next several years. Both Pap and HPV cotesting and HPV testing alone may also improve the detection of glandular cell abnormalities, including adenocarcinoma of the cervix cancer of the glandular cells of the cervix. Glandular cells are mucus -producing cells found in the endocervical canal the opening in the center of the cervix or in the lining of the uterus. Glandular cell abnormalities and adenocarcinoma of the cervix are less common than squamous cell abnormalities and squamous cell carcinoma. Pap testing is not as good at detecting adenocarcinoma and glandular cell abnormalities as it is at detecting squamous cell abnormalities and cancers. A woman may want to ask her provider for specific information about her Pap and HPV test results and what these results mean. Most laboratories in the United States use a standard set of terms, called the Bethesda System, to report Pap test results. Pap test results also indicate whether the specimen was satisfactory or unsatisfactory for examination. The Bethesda System considers abnormalities of squamous cells and glandular cells separately. Squamous cell abnormalities are divided into the following categories, ranging from the mildest to the most severe. Glandular cell abnormalities describe abnormal changes that occur in the glandular tissues of the cervix. The Bethesda system divides these abnormalities into the following categories:. Depending on the test results, a woman may be recommended to have repeat screening in a year because some abnormalities, especially more minor ones ASC-USwill go away on their own as the immune system controls the HPV infection. During a colposcopy, the provider inserts a speculum into the vagina to widen it and may apply a dilute vinegar solution to the cervix, which causes areas of HPV infection, inflammationprecancer, or other cell changes to turn white. The provider then uses the colposcope which remains outside the body to examine the cervix. When a provider performs colposcopy, he or she will usually remove cells or tissues from one or more concerning areas for examination under a microscope, a procedure called a biopsy. Sometimes, after many years of negative HPV tests, an infection that the immune system had previously controlled can become active again, resulting in an HPV-positive test result. There is no way to tell whether a newly positive HPV result is a sign of a new infection or represents a reactivation of an old infection. It is also not yet known whether reactivated HPV infections can cause cell changes that lead to precancer and cancer. Current HPV vaccines do not protect against all HPV types that cause cervical cancer, so it is important for vaccinated women to continue to undergo routine cervical cancer screening. Several new tests are currently in development that can improve the evaluation of HPV-positive women.
Pap smear how often
Mucosal genital HPV is spread mainly by direct skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual activity. It can be spread even when an infected person has no visible signs or symptoms. The virus can also be spread by genital contact without sex, but this is not common. Oral-genital and hand-genital spread of some genital HPV types have been reported. Transmission from mother to newborn during birth is rare, but it can happen, too. Both of these infections can cause life-long problems. HPV is a very common virus. Even people who have only had sex with one person in their lifetime can get HPV. In most people, the body clears the infection on its own. HPV is very common, so the only way to keep from becoming infected may be to completely avoid any contact of the areas of your body that can become infected like the mouth, anus, and genitals with those of another person. HPV vaccines can prevent infection with the types of HPV most likely to cause cancer and genital warts, although the vaccines are most effective when given at a younger age in older children and teens. And condoms must be used every time, from start to finish. Condoms are very helpful, though, in protecting against other infections that can be spread through sexual activity. Most people will never know they have HPV because they have no symptoms and most won't develop health problems because of HPV. In most people, their immune system attacks the virus and clears the HPV infection, typically within 2 years. This is true of both high-risk and low-risk HPV types. But sometimes HPV infections are not cleared by the body. Infection with a high-risk HPV type usually has no symptoms. But, this type of HPV can lead to cell changes that over many years may develop into cancer. Infection with a low-risk HPV type can cause genital warts. Genital warts may appear within weeks or months after contact with a partner who has HPV. The warts may also show up years after exposure, but this is rare. The warts usually look like small bumps or groups of bumps in the genital area.
Pap smear definition
It involves examining cells taken from the cervix under a microscope. If any are found, further testing, such as a colposcopy or biopsy, will be done in order to diagnose cancer. The test is named after George Papanicolaou, the Greek doctor who invented the procedure in the early s. A Pap smear is meant to detect abnormal cervical changes that may suggest that cancer is likely to develop or that cancer has already developed. Pap smears usually are done as part of regular pelvic exams. For certain women, cells taken during a Pap smear are also tested for high-risk strains of human papillomavirus HPVwhich can cause various cancers. There are more than strains of the virus, but not all cause the disease. Because the Pap is a screening test, there are specific guidelines regarding who should have one, at what age, and how often based on age and risk factors. After age 65, ACOG says a woman can safely stop having Pap smears if she does not have a history of moderate to severe abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer and she has had either three negative Pap tests in a row or two negative co-test results in a row within the past 10 years, with the most recent test done within the past five years. Although these recommendations refer to all women, there are some risk factors for cervical cancer that may make it prudent to have more frequent Pap smears. These include:. If you've had a hysterectomyyou still may need to have Pap tests. This depends on why you had the hysterectomy, whether your cervix was removed because cervical cells can remain at the top of the vagina after surgeryand if you have a history of moderate to severe cervical changes or cervical cancer, in which case you should continue to have Pap tests for 20 years after your surgery. There really are no physical risks associated with having a Pap smear. The test is very safe, even if you're pregnant. At most you might experience a bit of superficial bleeding if the speculum the instrument used to widen the vagina scrapes against the walls of the vagina while being inserted or removed. Family practice physicians, gynecologists, internal medicine physicians, and clinics all offer Pap smears. If the time slots for routine testing and other preventive services at your provider of choice tend to fill up quickly, you may want to schedule your test way in advance. Your doctor's office manager can advise you about this. The timing of a Pap smear is important if you're menstruating. When you have your period, the blood and other tissue can interfere with the results of the test. Unless your provider advises otherwise, it's best to schedule a Pap smear for one to two weeks after you expect your period, or, according to the American Cancer Society, five days after your period ends. If your cycle is unpredictable and you start your period when it will coincide with your appointment, call your doctor's office as soon as possible. You may be advised to reschedule, although some doctors will go ahead with a Pap smear if a patient's flow is very light. Besides menstrual blood and tissue, there a number of other things that can interfere with the accuracy of a Pap test by masking abnormal cells. These are:. If you have to keep the appointment, tell your doctor about the mix-up. Although a Pap smear takes only a minute or two, the total amount of time you're at your appointment will be a bit longer—particularly if, as is typical, you'll be having the test as part of your regular gynecological check-up. An hour is typically a sufficient amount of time to block off. If this will be your first visit to this particular provider, you may be asked to arrive 15 minutes or so ahead of time to fill out new patient forms, have your health insurance card photocopied for your files, and take care of your co-pay if you have one. Your Pap test will take place in an exam room at your doctor's office, hospital, or other medical facilities. The room will feature a gynecological exam table—one that can be lowered or raised to allow you to sit up or lie back—that has devices called stirrups attached at the foot end. The stirrups are there to allow you to comfortably rest your feet during your exam. There also will likely be other medical equipment in the room, such as a blood pressure cuff and a scale. Because you will need to remove all clothing from the waist down for a Pap smear, you might consider wearing a dress or skirt so that all you have to take off is your underwear and shoes, but this is purely a personal preference. It may be just as easy for you to slip out of a pair of jeans, slacks, or sweatpants. Exam rooms can be chilly; you might want to wear or bring a pair of socks.
Women's Health - Pap SMEAR (PAP TEST) - Animation Procedure