pap Smear Testing
A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a screening method for cervical cancer. It tests for the appearance of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus.
During the regular method, cells from your cervix are gently scraped away and examined for abnormal growth.
Who needs a Pap smear?
Current guidelinesTrusted Source recommends that women get regular Pap smears every three years starting at age 21. Any women may be at a developed risk of cancer or infection. You may need more frequent tests if:
- you’re HIV-positive
- you have a weakened immune system from chemotherapy or an organ transplant
If you’re over 30 and have not had abnormal Pap tests, ask your doctor about having one every five years if the test is combined with a human papillomavirus (HPV) screening.
HPV is a virus that causes warts and increases the chance of cervical cancer. HPV types 16 and 18 are the main causes of cervical cancer. If you have HPV, you may be at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
Women over the age of 65 with a record of normal Pap smear results may be capable to stop having the test in the future.
You should still get regular Pap smears based on your age, regardless of your sexual activity status. That’s because the HPV virus can be asleep for years and then suddenly become active.