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1. What is a pap smear?
Pap or Papanicolaou smear is a screening procedure. It is used to detect precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix (lowermost section of the uterus) of women. The procedure includes collecting cells from the cervix which are then used for prediction of likelihood of cervical cancer.
2. Are there any other tests done with pap smear?
Doctors generally recommend a pelvic exam along with the Pap smear test. The test for detecting human papillomavirus (HPV) is recommended with the Pap smear test to women aged above 30 years.
3. Who should frequently take pap smear?
Women with the following conditions should get a routine Pap smear:
• HIV infection
• A weak immune system due to long-term use of corticosteroids or due to organ transplant
• A habit of smoking
• Abnormal or cancerous cells have been detected in the Pap smear test
• A family history of cervical cancer
• History of exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth
4. Can I stop pap smear if I had a total hysterectomy?
Doctors generally recommend doing the Pap smear test if the hysterectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the uterus) was done due to a cancerous or precancerous condition of the cervix.
5. Do I need to continue with pap testing if I am 70 years old?
Your doctor might recommend discontinuing the Pap smear tests if all the past tests were negative for cervical cancer. However, if you have multiple sexual partners, you might have to continue taking Pap smear tests even if you are older than 65 years.