Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: What Is A Pap Smear And Why Should All Women Take The Test Routinely?
When it comes to women’s sexual health or hygiene of women’s intimate areas, many people including women tend to shy away from it. It is something that we’re hardly ever taught about and it’s something most women learn very late in life – sometimes when it’s too late. In fact, in India, cervical cancer contributes around 6-29% of all cancers in women. Yep, that is a very high rate. This is why it is today that I have decided to speak about it; also the fact that it being the Cervical Cancer Awareness month helps. So, today we’re going to talk about a Pap smear aka Pap test.
So, What is a Pap Smear aka Pap Test?
Well, a Pap smear, also known as a Pap test is a routine screening test that helps in the early diagnosis of cervical cancer. The test can also help in detecting changes that take place4 in cervical cells that may suggest if there is a possibility of cancer in the future.
Also Read: Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Everything You Need To Know About It
Why is a Pap smear important for women to get regularly?
The reason why getting a Pap smear aka Pap test is important because during the early stage of cervical cancer hardly any signs or symptoms are produced to hint at it. And so an early diagnosis always helps, since it provides a woman with a greater chance of curing cervical cancer when detected early.
How is a Pap test conducted?
When a Pap smear is being conducted, your gynaecologist or health care worker will gently insert a speculum (a medical instrument) into your vagina, and inserting the speculum will generate pressure in your pelvic area. The instrument helps in holding the walls of your vagina apart so that your doctor can see the cervix. Then your doctor will take samples of your cervical cells using a soft brush and spatula – a flat, scraping device. More often than not, this procedure doesn’t hurt.
When should you get a Pap test done?
Even though the routine of it depends from woman to woman, most doctors recommend getting a Pap smear done once the woman is 21-years-old. They also recommend repeating the test every three years until she reaches the age of 65.
In fact, reports suggest that many doctors advise women who are 30 and above to get the Pap smear done every 5 years, that is in case they’re doing the procedure alongside HPV test.
Whatever might be the case, consulting your doctor and acting upon their recommendations is always preferred. Their recommendation will be based on many factors but getting the test done routinely is extremely crucial.