Pap smear screening is important for women, but not all women need it. Pap smear is an examination performed for early detection of cervical cancer. Therefore, women are the main object of this examination compared to men. However, there are only a few categories of women who are advised to undergo a pap smear in relation to the risk of cervical cancer.
What is pap smear?
The Pap smear is a test to detect cervical cancer. During the Pap smear, your doctor will take a sample of your cervical tissue cells. The officer will then examine using a microscope to detect if there are abnormal cells in the sample that may develop into cancer (precancerous cells) or cells that have become cancerous.
This test can be an early detection step of cervical cancer before the stage gets worse. The sooner the cancer is detected, the higher the success rate of treatment.
Pap smear cost
Pap smear examination costs range from $20 and $30, and varies from the hospital or clinic that organizes it.
Pap Smear Indication
The Pap smear is recommended to be done every 3 years in women aged 21 years and above. For women who are 30ꟷ65 years old, pap smear can be done every 5 years, but it needs to be combined with HPV examination.
Pap smears are also recommended for women at high risk of cervical cancer, regardless of age. The high-risk women are those who have the following factors:
- Suffering from HIV
- Have a weakened immune system, for example, due to organ transplantation, chemotherapy, or long-term use of corticosteroids
- Getting abnormal results (precancerous lesions) in previous pap smears
- Exposure to or use of the diethylstilbestrol (DES) drug.
- Have a smo**king habit.
Regular pap smears examinations can be stopped in women who have undergone surgical removal of the entire uterus and cervix (total hysterectomy). Note that a total hysterectomy procedure is not performed on indication of cancer or precancerous lesions. If a total hysterectomy is performed due to cancer or precancerous, a pap smear should be carried out regularly.
In addition, routine pap smears can also be stopped in women aged 65 years and above with previously normal pap smear results.
Pap smear preparation
Certain preparations need to be required before performing a pap smear, including:
- Schedule your pap test when you are not in your menstrual period, as blood can interfere with the test results.
- Do not use tampons, rectal cleansers, powders, or other vagi**nal medications for 24 hours before the test.
- Did not have se**xual inter**course for 24 hours before the test.
- You will feel more comfortable if you empty your bladder before the test.
If you already have an agreement with a doctor, be sure to inform your doctor about the following, as these are important considerations to take in a pap test:
- If this is your first pap smear test
- If you are pregnant
- If you may be pregnant
- If you use any type of contraception
- The first day of your last menstruation
- The average length of your period
- If you have ever performed surgery involving the vagi**na, uterus, cervix, or vulva
- If you have a history of ra**pe and or se**xual harassment
If you have had abnormal pap test results before.
Pap smear stages
Pap smears can be done when not in menstruation. Also, do not use a douche to clean the va**gina at least three days before the procedure. Other preparations include not having se**x and not taking tampons at least two days in advance and not using contraceptives. You should also clean the bladder before starting the pap smear test stage.
Wearing special clothes
The position of the patient in the pap smear examination is similar to the normal labor process. Then special clothes may be needed to make the process easier.
Lying on the examination table
Try to be as relaxed as possible when lying on the checklist table. Place both feet in the provided place or in a wide position.
The doctor will examine the outer vagi**na first before starting the pap smear stage inside the va**gina.
The doctor opens the vagi**na and inserts a device named speculum. This process is carried out slowly and carefully.
The cell sampling
The doctor takes a sample of cells from inside the vagi**na using a tool such as a fine brush or cotton swab or some sort of spatula. The sample is then inserted into a check tool such as a tube or glass to be taken to the laboratory.
Speculum removal and sample inspection
After sampling the cell, the speculum is removed. The pap smear stage has been completed. Patients just wait for the results of the sample examination in the laboratory.
Last Updated on February 24, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team