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Cervical Cancer Screening: The Pap Test

Oct 18, 2018

By: Christine Bermudez

Life Style

Cervical cancer in the Philipines is the 2nd leading cancer site among women according to the Department of Health. DOH also highlights the fact that cervical cancer when detected early is curable.

The cervix is the opening of the uterus where a baby grows during pregnancy. Cervical cancer screening is usually part of a woman's health checkup. One of the readily available cervical cancer screening tests in almost all hospitals is the Pap smear test.

A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, makes it possible to find and treat cervical cancer in the early stages. According to the National Cancer Institute, regular Pap screening decreases cervix cancer incidence and mortality by at least 80%.

Fun fact: The Pap test, or Pap smear, is named in honor of its inventor, a Greek doctor called George (Georgios) Nicholas Papanicolaou (1883-1962).

When to get a Pap smear?

It's recommended to get a regular Pap test starting about age 21 until 29 at least every three years. After that, if you've had three consistently normal Pap smears, ask your doctor about having one in every five years. Healthline mentions that women over the age of 60 with a history of normal Pap test results may be able to stop having Pap smears.

What to expect during a Pap test?

With the Pap test, the lab checks the sample for cancer cells or abnormal cells that could become cancer later. Try to schedule the test some time when you do not expect your menstrual period. Now, that you're at the clinic, what will happen?

During a Pap test, your gynecologist will collect cells from your cervix using a small scraper or cervical brush. Those cells are then sent off to a lab to be analyzed for any abnormalities that could be associated with HPV or cervical cancer.

Do Pap smears hurt?

The word "scraping" doesn't sound nice if you're thinking of the pain factor. The test is going to be physically uncomfortable. It's not an everyday thing where your feet are up in the stirrups and your gyno is down there. But the thing is, despite the awkwardness, Pap smears don't take all that long to do.

What are the results of Pap smear?

There are two possible results from a Pap smear: normal or abnormal.

  • Normal Pap smear

Normal result means that no abnormal cells were identified. It is sometimes also referred to as negative. If your results are normal, you probably won't need a Pap smear for another three years.

  • Abnormal Pap smear

If the test results are abnormal, this doesn't mean you have cancer. It simply means that there are abnormal cells on your cervix, some of which could be precancerous. 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. Your doctor will let you know if you need to be treated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most treatments prevent cervical cancer from developing.

Is the Pap test worth it?

Many women are at risk of cervical cancer, even if they don't think that they are. Ladies, don't put it off any longer! Pap smears won't be the most pleasant experience, but as long as they help us settle our health concerns and with confidence.

But even if you don't need a Pap test every year, you should still have annual gyno appointments. Your yearly gynecologist appointment can help you talk about your other lady concerns.

At World Citi Medical Center, our OB-Gynecologists are your friends when it comes to your reproductive health and all your lady concerns. Consult with one of our OB-GYNEs now! Send us a message or call us at 913.8380 loc. 606 to schedule. You can also visit our Women's Wellness Center to schedule your Pap smear at 2/F World Citi Medical Center

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