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Role of Pap Test in Cervical Cancer

Written by Abhik Moitra

• President - HBG Medical Assistance
•General Secretary – Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion (FHWP)
•Diploma in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (DNYS)
•PGDBM – Symbiosis
•Master’s in Business Development – University of Rajasthan

Getting a Pap test means that a woman’s cervix is being screened to check any kind of abnormal change in the cells. You might come across the terms such as cervical dysplasia, abnormal or precancerous cell changes, CIN (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia)SIL (Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions), and warts on the cervix. They all mean that some kind of abnormalities was found as a result of the test. Such abnormalities are mostly due to Human Papillomavirus (HPV). However, such terms do not mean that the woman has cervical cancer.

The doctor would often observe the cervix and may suggest treatment so that the cells do not change into cancerous forms.

  • During a Pap test, the sample of cervical cells is collected in a lab to test cervical cancer is present or not.
  • 90% of the Pap test results are said to be normal. In case of an abnormal result, more tests would be suggested.
  • To ensure the accuracy of Pap test results, avoid sexual intercourse for at least two to three days prior to the test. Avoid the usage of tampons, birth control foams, vaginal medicines, creams, or powders.
  • The most favorable time for the test is considered to be five days after the menstrual period.

The idea behind the test is to detect if the lady has cervical cancer or cancer of the cervix? During the test, a device called a speculum is inserted into the opening of the vagina. It allows the view of the cervix and upper vagina. The doctor then uses a brush-spatula kind of device to collect the cells. The device is rotated in the endocervix and the ectocervix areas to collect squamous and glandular cells. The cells collected are evaluated under a microscope in the lab. You may get a small amount of vaginal bleeding post the test, which is normal. You will be able to do all your regular activities. In case of excessive bleeding, consult your doctor.

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