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1. What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is a laboratory screening procedure used in identifying women who are at a higher risk of getting cervical cancer. This method is also called a pap test and involves collection of cells from the cervix (narrow part at the lower end of the uterus).
2. Are there any other tests done with pap smear?
The pap smear is usually done along with a pelvic exam. In women who are above the age of 30, the pap test may be used in conjunction with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection that can result in cervical cancer.
3. Who should frequently take pap smear?
Pap smear test should be done more often by women who have:
been diagnosed with cervical cancer or a pap smear showed precancerous cells
been exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth
got HIV infection
a weak immune system due to organ transplant, chemotherapy or chronic use of corticosteroid
a history of smoking
4. Can I stop pap smear if I had a total hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus along with the cervix by surgery. Consult your doctor if you have to take pap test anymore. Usually, if your hysterectomy was due to a cancerous or precancerous condition, your doctor may recommend continuing with pap testing to look for relapse.
5. Do I need to continue with pap testing if I am 70 years old?
Doctors generally tell their patients to stop routine pap smear if they are above 65 years of age and all the previous tests showed negative results. However, if they still have sexual intercourse, it is better to continue with pap smear screening despite the age.