Pap smear test: Hear about it from an expert

Painless yet uncomfortable, Pap Smear test can help in the detection of Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer is very common among a number of women around the world. Statistics say that in India 6-29% of women suffer from cervical cancer. The age-adjusted incidence rate of cervical cancer varies widely among registries; the highest is 23.07/100,000 in Mizoram state and the lowest is 4.91/100,000 in Dibrugarh district.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix " the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer.
 The pap smear tests are generally painless but might be uncomfortable. Pap smear is a procedure in which a small brush is used to gently removed cells from the surface of the cervix and the area around it so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer.
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Image: representative image
A pap smear may also help find other conditions , such as infections or inflammation. It is usually done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types  of human papillomavirus of HPV.
The Pap test looks for pre-cancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately
Dr Sweta Bhansali, Gynae Consultant of Marwari Hospital once said, "Cervical Cancer is preventable and curable, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. To eliminate cervical cancer, we have to work on 3 main targets namely vaccination, screening and treatment".
Guiding the people on the detection of Cervical Cancer, Dr Bhansali said that the Pap test is a very simple screening process through which cervical cancer can be detected. Every lady from the age group of 30 years should undergo a Pap screening test at an interval of 3 years till 65 years of age.
If someone is not regular with screening, then at least they should take the test by the age of 35 and again by the age of 45. The Pap test looks for pre-cancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
representative image
Image: representative image
While conducting a pap procedure, the patient (or lady) will be asked to spread her legs, then the doctor will insert a metal or plastic tool (speculum) into your vagina. Doing this will allow you to open the track and see the vaginal walls. This allows them to see your cervix. The doctor then uses a swab to collect samples of cells from your cervix.
The samples which are collected are then tested in a laboratory for the presence of any suspicious infection or germ.

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