Pap Smears and Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer can be a life-threatening disease that many women will fall victim to each and every year. To that end, if you are a woman, it is important for you to learn all that you can about the disease so that you can limit the likelihood of you developing it in your body. One of the most potent tools at a doctors disposal when it comes to working towards preventing an occurrence of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus test, which is sometimes known as a pap test or pap smear.

Pap Test Basics

Many doctors recommend that pap tests should be taken at least once every two years by females who have had sexual intercourse in their lifetimes. In order to perform a pap test, doctors use a speculum in order to open the vagina so that the cervix can be clearly identified. The doctor then takes a type of spatula and collects some of the cells and mucus that are present on the cervix. They then take a cotton swab and collect the cells so that they can study them.

The sample is then smeared onto a microscope slide and sent to a laboratory. The doctors can then check for any cell abnormalities in the cervical cells that may indicate that pre-cancerous growths are forming. In this way, doctors can identify women who are apt to develop cervical cancer in the near future and can therefore plan on the disease and ways to eliminate it.


Before you go in for a pap test, there are some things that you should do in order to ensure that your results will be easy to process and more likely to tell whether or not you are at risk for cervical cancer. First off, you should do your best to schedule the appointment at a time in which you are not experiencing your menstrual period. You should also make sure that you avoid any type of sexual intercourse for forty eight hours before the examination, and you should also avoid douching during that time period.

Consequently, you should avoid putting anything in your vagina for forty eight hours before the test, including medications, tampons, or birth control foams. Any different types of cells that may show up in the pap smear may make the results hard to read in the laboratory, and the efficiency of the test may not be as good as it should be.

By regularly having pap smears every two years, you can greatly limit the chances that you are going to develop cervical cancer. While it is not the most comfortable type of medical procedure that you would want to partake in, it can very well save your life. To that end, you should be sure that you take all the precautions that you can with regards to cervical cancer and pap tests.