A Pap Test Can Save Your Life
If you are a woman, one of the most important things you can do is to get a Pap test. The Pap test detects cancer of the cervix (the lower part of the uterus). This simple, effective test can save your life.
For most women, Pap tests are painless. The doctor gently collects a cell sample from the cervix and sends it to a lab. The lab checks it for cancer or precancerous changes. If the doctor suspects a problem, a test result may be available in as few as 24 hours.
The Pap test can find cancer or precancerous changes of the cervix before they cause any symptoms. Because cervical cancer grows slowly, the test increases the chance of finding a problem while it is still treatable.
A yearly Pap test is best for most women. But those with certain risk factors may need to be screened more often. This includes:
Women who smoke
Women who are infected with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV)
Women whose mother took the drug DES while pregnant
Women who have had multiple sex partners; the more partners, the higher the risk for cervical cancer
Women with a family history of cervical cancer
Talk to your doctor to find out how often you need to be screened.
March 21, 2017
Staywell for Life/December 2005
Sylvia ByrdSylvia Byrd RN MBA