Pap's Smear

by Sharon Hopkins

Pap test, Cervical test, Smear test or Pap smear, is a painless diagnostic procedure done to evaluate the cervical cells, at the base of the uterus. Though it checks out the infection and anomalies of cervix, it is not used as an identification tool for malignancy. Pap test is not done in women with repeated prior pap tests and women without cervix.

Equipment termed speculum is put in the vagina. A special brush is utilized to take a few cervical cells, which are placed on a glass slide and processed for further analysis. Some exhibit discomfort, during this procedure. Exposure to deodorant and intercourse before the procedure are avoided. The test is not done during the menstrual cycle.

Atypical results require the repetition of test in the successive 4 months. A colposcopy is done on further abnormality. This technique makes use of a colposcope, to further analyze the anomaly. Abnormal cervical cells calls for an immediate biopsy. This technique can be done during pregnancy.

False positive and false negative pap smear results are normal. When the results portray an anomaly in the cells, though not actually found is a false positive result and the results showing normalcy, in spite of the presence of abnormal cells is a false negative result. Repeated pap tests are recommended, as they highlight the chances of a hidden problem. A positive pap smear result is an indicator of preliminary stages of cancer, inflammation, in situ carcinoma and advanced stages of cancer. Non detection of cancer is the only major risk.

Abnormalities revealed by pap test are LSIL, HSIL and aytypia squamous cells. LSIL (Low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) is a mild anomaly found on the upper cell layer. HSIL (High grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) is the predecessor for cancer and a rigorous anomaly. Mild abnormality is seen in the aytypia squamous cells.

Women in the age range of 21 to 29 years should be diagnosed by a smear test, once a year. About three normal tests in two to three years is recommended for 30 to 69 years women. This test is stopped after consecutive, normal tests. Certain risk factors call for the performance of this test, such as, multiple sex partners, use of tobacco, a familial history of STD and cancer of the cervix, HIV infection, poor immunity and origin of sex life at an early age. Uterus removal or hysterectomy does not call for a pap smear test, as the cervix is also removed. Guidance of the physician is recommended.

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