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Important Things You Need To Know About Your Pap Smear Test

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November 18, 2022 | Category : Antibody Testing | Author: North Hills Urgent Care

Important Things About Pap Smear Test

While cervical cancer is highly treatable and preventable, the World Health Organization says that cancer claimed the lives of 342,000 people in 2020. It is tragic that while this is a preventable form of cancer, poor access to screening, diagnosis, and treatment accounts for 90% of deaths.

Earlier detection and treatment are critical in the fight against cervical cancer. That said, Pap smears are an effective screening method for cervical cancer and identifying precancerous cells at an early stage. But before you start searching for a "Pap smear test near me," here are some things about this potentially lifesaving screening procedure.

Definition of Pap Smear Test

The Papanicolaou test (also known as a Pap smear) is a quick and painless way to screen for gynecological cancer. The cervix is examined to detect cancerous or precancerous abnormal cells. During a Pap smear, a sample of cells will be taken from your cervix and examined under the microscope for cancerous changes. 

A Pap smear may also detect infections and inflammations. Regular Pap smear screenings should be at the top of any woman's list of preventative healthcare measures. This easy screening is typically performed during a routine pelvic exam to check for cancer.

Still, getting your Pap smear done at the doctor's office won't take long. To check for cancer, we take a sample of cells from your cervix.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Pap Smear Test?

It would help if you went through with the Pap test because it provides you with these advantages:

For Your Peace of Mind

Positive results from a Pap smear test indicate that your reproductive system is healthy and you are not at risk for developing cervical cancer. With this knowledge, you can rest easy knowing that you are not at an elevated risk of developing cancer.

Early Detection

A Pap smear can detect the earliest stages of cervical cancer. Till then, you can put off cancer treatment until you experience symptoms that may increase the likelihood of the disease returning.

Preventing Cancer

In addition to detecting cervix cancer, the Pap smear can also reveal precancerous cells that have the potential to develop into cancer.

Precancerous cells can be treated, and the treatment is usually successful; it halts the cellular changes that lead to cancer.

Less Intensive Medical Care May Be Required

The Pap smear is an effective screening tool for cervical cancer that can provide decisive information about the urgency of treatment. You may need much less treatment in the early stages of cancer than later on.

Eliminate the Risk of Spreading

By detecting cervical cancer early, a Pap smear reduces the likelihood of the disease spreading to other body parts.

In the long run, finding cancer at its early stages can significantly improve your chances of survival.

See More: How To Prepare For a PAP Smear In North Hills?

How Frequent Should You Get a Pap Smear Test?

In addition to age and general health, other factors can increase or decrease your risk of developing cervical cancer. As a general rule, however, we advise the following procedures for Pap tests:

Age 21-30

Plan on getting a Pap smear every three years from age 21 to 30. Annual pelvic exams and Pap smears are a common choice for many women. Please inquire with our staff about having your Pap smear and human Papillomavirus (HPV) screening done simultaneously.

For young adults, HPV is one of the most prevalent STDs. In most cases, it clears up without treatment, but if left unchecked, certain strains can lead to cervical cancer.

Age 30-65

When you hit 30, go for Pap tests every five years, though some women may require more frequent screenings. The risk of developing cervical cancer may rise in people with a history of smoking, an impaired immune system, or HIV. 

If you are 65 or older, you no longer need annual Pap smears. If our medical professionals determine that your history of Pap tests indicates a low risk of cervical cancer, we will discontinue screenings.

Can You Get a Pap Smear Test While on Your Period?

A Pap smear can be performed even if you are menstruating, but it is more effective if you are not. Keep in mind that, especially in the case of a heavy outpouring, the presence of blood may affect the reliability of your results. 

Spotting won't be a problem regarding test reliability. In any case, it's best to double-check with your gynecologist. Ensure that you have Pap smears done between the twelfth and twenty-first day of your cycle. To take advantage of this crucial test, it's best to get your Pap smear when convenient.

Can You Take a Pap Smear During Pregnancy

A Pap test during pregnancy is highly recommended. Both you and your unborn child can rest easy knowing that getting a Pap smear during pregnancy is safe. It's also not true that it could result in a miscarriage. Keep in mind that light menstrual bleeding is completely normal after a Pap smear if you are pregnant. This is because the cervix bleeds more easily when touched due to increased blood flow to the uterus.

What If You Never Get a Pap Smear Test?

If cervical cancer is not diagnosed and treated in time, it will inevitably be fatal. That's why getting a Pap smear test is so important. It would help if you didn't skip your Pap smear for these reasons:

The Pap Test Is the Gold Standard for Detecting Cervical Cancer

You already know that cervical cancer is highly treatable if detected early. Many routine screenings have significantly helped reduce the number of deaths caused by cervical cancer over the past 40 years. However, Pap smears remain the gold standard in cervical cancer screening.

High Prevalence of HPV Among Sexually Active Americans

The human Papillomavirus is the primary risk factor for developing cervical cancer. Approximately 79 million Americans live with HPV, and another 14 million are infected yearly. Did you know that four out of 10 people carry the HPV unknowingly? 

Cancer can develop from the spread of HPV because so many people with the virus are unaware they have it. Due to HPV's widespread distribution, Pap smears are always recommended.

Cervical Cancer Is the Number Four Deadliest Cancer in Women

While Pap smears have helped reduce mortality rates, cervical cancer remains a significant health concern. Women are more prone to die from breast, colorectal, endometrial, or lung cancer than cervical cancer.

The prognosis for Cervical Cancer Is Greatly Improved If Detected Early.

Cervical cancers can be treated successfully if detected early, which is why Pap smears are so important. In cases where cervical cancer is detected before it has spread, the percentage survival rate is 92%.

Detection Capability for Other Health Problems

When you visit our clinic for a Pap test, we might also suggest that you get other screenings for conditions that might lead to cervical cancer.

Your regular Pap smear appointment is an excellent time to discuss any concerns you may have with one of our caring doctors.

How to Prepare for A Pap Smear Test

So, here are some tips for making the most of your Pap smear while minimizing any discomfort you may experience:

  • Don't have any sexual contact two days before your scheduled Pap smear.
  • You should reschedule your meeting if your period starts early. Don't book your Pap smear during your periods.
  • Stressing out can make a painful situation even worse. You must chill out as much as possible at the exam table. Wearing headphones and playing calm music on your phone is a great way to unwind.
  • Before the Pap test, if you know you have a full bladder, try to go to the bathroom first.


Every woman should prioritize getting a Pap test to help diagnose cervix cancer. Cervical cancer and precancerous cells that could progress to the deadly cervical cancer are both detectable through Pap smears. In addition to potentially saving you money on advanced cancer treatments, maintaining a regular schedule of these exams can give you peace of mind that you're healthy. So, search for a "Pap smear test near me" and get tested immediately.

To know if it’s time for your next pap smear test, book an appointment at North Hills Urgent Care. Call our clinic at (818) 839-5666 or contact us online.


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