Pap smear Test: You Shouldn’t put it off any Longer

Published On December 5, 2018 | By Clare Louise | Health

Most women view Pap smear tests as some form of inconvenience and can sometimes be a horrific experience. Though this might put you off from submitting to the test, the Pap test is more important than you think.

This test is so named in recognition of George Nicholas Papanicolaou, a Greek doctor, who invented the test. He researched the unusual mutation in the cells found in the female reproductive system. His research focused on investigating the smears of cervical tissue to screen for warning signs associated with gynecological health.

Why Pap test?

During the Pap test, a healthcare provider collects cells from a woman’s cervix for an in-depth analysis. These cells are screened for unusual results. This is because mutations indicate the existence of HPV – Human Papillomavirus. This is a considerable risk factor for the development of the most dreaded health condition; cervical cancer.

According to and other female reproductive health experts, HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection. You can contract it via oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact with a person who is already infected. In most cases, HPV is eliminated naturally by your body’s immune system with 12 months or two years from the time you got infected, probably without causing any complication. However, in some instances, HPV can linger in your body and cause genital warts, resulting in cervical cancer.

Note that the Pap Smear Test helps in detecting any changes that can occur at a cellular level. The healthcare provider can determine whether or not your cells indicate precancerous lesions which are associated with a high probability of becoming a cancerous tissue. In 2014, according to the CDC, 12,578 ladies were diagnosed with cervical cancer in U.S. Besides, the American Cancer Society estimates that 13,240 new cases are likely to be diagnosed by the end of 2018.

Several forms of treatment and interventions are available for cervical cancer patients. However, for these measures to be effective, it’s crucial to get diagnosed as early as possible. This is the primary test you should get tested regularly. A Pap Smear Test can detect cells even in their precancerous phase, and that allows the implementation of an effective preventive test. Besides, the test can also help in identifying other issues that might appear in the vaginal or cervical area.

How often should you get a Pap test?

According to medical experts, women should begin getting tested once they hit 21 years. Up until 2012, healthcare providers used to recommend that ladies undergo Pap test once per year. However, the current recommendations favor a longer time gap between the tests. For instance, the CDC recommends that women aged 21 to 30 years should get the smear test done at least once every three years if no issues detected. Besides, women aged 30 to 65 years should get tested once in five years.

The bottom line is, getting a Pap test done is important to your health. Even if you think you are healthy, getting Pap test could uncover the potential risk of cervical cancer and handle the issue when you still can.

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