By Dr. Prerna Agarwal
Fathom this: Cervical cancer is one of the common types of cancer seen in a large number of women. A pap smear detects cervical cancer and gives one a good chance to tackle this deadly cancer on time.
Cervical cancer starts in the woman’s cervix (lower, narrow end part of the uterus). Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, a weak immune system, and smoking are some of the common causes of this type of cancer. The red flags of it are bloody vaginal discharge, bleeding after intercourse or even between periods, and pelvic pain. Thus, screening is the best tool to prevent this cancer. Thus, it is suggested to take pap smear test at regular intervals to know your health status.
Know why a Pap smear test can be beneficial for women
- The timely screening will help prevent cervical cancer. The Pap test also known as Pap smear is an important tool for early diagnosis of developing cancer and lowering the death rates in the country. Women belonging to the age group 21-6o should take this test after every 3 years as per the doctor’s suggestion.
- A Pap smear is performed by collecting cells from your cervix. A Pap test will also look for changes in the cervical cells that can turn into cancer later. The result will be positive or negative. So, negative results will mean that the doctor didn’t find any precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix. If the test results are abnormal, it can also indicate the presence of abnormal cells on the cervix. But, if cervical cancer is detected then it can be managed promptly too. Women of 21-65 age should go for this test after every year without fail. One can combine a Pap test with human papillomavirus (HPV) right from the age of 30. If you do so, then you can opt for a test after every 5 years instead of 3 years.
- Keep some things in mind while doing a Pap smear test. Do not opt for it during menses as you may not get accurate results. Furthermore, avoid intercourse, douching, and using lubricants, sprays, and other products down there right before the test.
The writer is Manager, Technical Operations, Apollo Diagnostic