Pap Smear

Pap Smear Test

‡ What Is a Pap Test? ‡ A Pap test is a test of a sample of cells taken from a woman's cervix. The test is used to look for changes in the cells of the cervix that show cervical cancer or conditions that may develop into cancer. ‡ It is the best tool to detect precancerous conditions and hidden, small tumors that may lead to cervical cancer. If detected early, cervical cancer can be cured. ‡ Pap screen testing should begin at age 21. Routine screening is recommended every two years for women 21-29 years old. For certain women 30 years and older who have had three consecutive normal screening test results, testing can be done every three years.

‡ How Is a Pap Test Performed? ‡ The Pap test is done during a pelvic exam. A doctor uses a device called a speculum to widen the opening of the vagina so that the cervix can be examined. A plastic spatula and small brush are used to collect cells from the cervix. After the cells are taken, they are placed into a solution. The solution is sent to a lab for testing. ‡ Is the Pap Test Painful? ‡ A Pap test is not painful, but the pelvic exam may be a little uncomfortable. ‡ When Will I Know the Results of the Pap Test? ‡ It may take several weeks to get the test results. If you haven't heard from your doctor's office after three weeks, give them a call to see if your results have come back.

‡ What Do the Results of a Pap Test Mean? ‡ A normal Pap test means the cells from the cervix look normal. An abnormal Pap test means the cells do not look normal. Sometimes repeat Pap tests are needed. Different tests also may need to be done, such as a colposcopy (the use of a special microscope to examine the cervix and vagina). Pap tests can occasionally show signs of infection but cannot be relied on to screen for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Other tests are necessary to determine the presence of an STD. There are several things you can do to help make the Pap test as accurate as possible. These include avoidance of sex, douching, and vaginal creams for 48 hours before the test.

‡ What Happens If the Results Are Abnormal? ‡ An abnormal Pap test does not necessarily mean that cancer cells were found during the examination. There are many causes for abnormal Pap test results, including infection, inflammation related to using a diaphragm or sex, and changes related to your menstrual cycle. Your doctor will evaluate the results to determine if further testing is necessary. ‡ Why Would I Need to Repeat the Pap Test? ‡ A repeat Pap test may be necessary if you had an infection at the time of the test or if there were not enough cells collected during the test. Since decreased levels of the female hormone estrogen also can influence Pap test results, menopausal women may need to take estrogen before they repeat the test. ‡ If the results of the repeat Pap test are still abnormal, your doctor may recommend that you have a colposcopy to further evaluate the problem.

1Schedule the patient for a pap smear when she will not be menstruating. The blood during menstruation can cause abnormal pap results. The American Cancer Society states that a woman should have a pap smear performed five days after her menstrual period ends. 2.Ask the woman the standard questions prior to the doctor coming in to perform the pap smear. These questions should ask about the possibility of being pregnant, type of birth control used, sexual activity, urinary problems, symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, and other health concerns. 3Give the woman a gown and paper sheet. Ask her to remove her clothing from the waist down, put on the gown, and wrap the sheet around her waist. Show her where the changing room or bathroom is located, and have her return to the room when she is finished.

4. explain the procedure to the patient. If this is the first time she is having a pap smear, she may be nervous and unsure of what to expect. It is important to tell her exactly what the doctor will do, and what types of sensations to expect during the exam. ‡5 Ensure the patient feels safe and comfortable with the doctor. You may also be requested to stay in the room for the duration of the test. During this time, you should make sure the patient is as comfortable as possible.

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