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A closer look at: the cervical cytology (smear/pap) test

Getting a smear (Pap) test is one of the best things you can do to prevent cervical cancer – it can save your life. If you are aged 21 to 65, you should get a smear (Pap) test as part of routine health care, even if you are not currently sexually active. It can find early signs of cervical cancer (precancerous). If caught early, treatment of abnormal cells can help prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing.
  • The cervical cytology (or ‘smear’ or 'Pap') test is carried out to look for changes in the skin lining the part of the cervix that juts into the vagina. You will be asked to lie on your back with your legs bent and your knees parted.

Position for cervical cytology (smear or Pap) test

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • A plastic or metal instrument, called a speculum, is inserted into the vagina to hold it open so that the cervix can be seen.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • The doctor or nurse will examine the cervix and collect some cervical cells by gently brushing the cervix in a circular motion using a specially designed plastic ‘broom’ and possibly also a small brush.
Collection of cervical cells by smear (Pap) test
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • The cells are collected in a special fluid and will be examined under a microscope in the laboratory.
Collection of cervical cells for laboratory testing in smear (Pap) test

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • A cervical cytology (smear/Pap) test only takes a few minutes. It is not painful but can be a bit uncomfortable. Your doctor or nurse will be able to tell you how long it will take to get the test results.
  • If changes to the cells are found, they may be precancerous or cancerous. Precancers are cell changes that might become cancer if they are not treated in the right way. 

Written by: embarrassingproblems.com
Edited by: embarrassingproblems.com
Last updated: Monday, June 20th 2016

 


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