A Pap smear is also called a Pap test. It’s a procedure to screen for cervical cancer in women. A Pap smear involves collecting cells from your cervix the lower, narrow end of your uterus.
Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear gives you a greater chance at a cure. A Pap smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. The Pap smear is usually performed in conjunction with a pelvic exam. In women older than age 30, the Pap smear may be combined with a test for human Papillomavirus (HPV) a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer in some women.
Who Should Have Pap smear?
Doctor can decide when it’s time for you to begin Pap smear testing and how often you should have the test.
In general, after age 30, Pap smears are generally recommended every three years, or every five years when the Pap smear is combined with an HPV test.
If you have certain risk factors, your doctor may recommend more-frequent Pap smears, regardless of your age.
These risk factors include:
Note: A preventive vaccine for Cervical Cancer and HPV is available.