A pap smear test is used to test the presence of cervical cancer in women. It can also show changes in your cervical cells that might later develop into cancer.
You should have a Pap test every 3 years if you are 21-65 years old. When 30 or older, you can have a Pap test every 5 years if it is combined with an HPV test. You can visit the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad to have a Pap test.
Why Is a Pap Smear Performed?
It is done to identify alterations in cervical cells before they progress to cancer. If you have cancer, early detection of it can give you more chances to fight it. Even if you don’t have cancer, detecting cellular changes early is helpful to prevent developing cancer.
Apart from the usual recommendation, the frequency of getting a pap smear depends on your overall health and whether you had a positive pap test earlier.
When Should You Expect Your Test Results?
It can take up to 3 weeks to get the lab results. If further testing is required, the doctor will let you know. The results will come as either positive (abnormal) or negative (normal).
Such a result is good news. It means that no precancerous or cancerous cells have been found in your cervix. Another pap test is not needed until it is scheduled by the doctor.
The result can be positive or abnormal due to one or more of the following reasons:
- HPV or other infection
- Minor cell changes or mild inflammation
- Presence of precancerous or cancerous cells
- Lab test error
If you visit a reputed maternity hospital for this test, there are minimal to no chances of lab test errors.
Inflammation can occur if you used a diaphragm or had intercourse shortly before having the Pap test.
If you have minor cell changes or inflammation, the doctor may prefer waiting and watching. You may be recommended to have another Pap smear in a couple of months. If abnormal cells are found again, some more tests may be recommended by the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad. These often include a procedure known as colposcopy.
During this procedure, a speculum is inserted into your vagina much like it is done during a Pap smear. Then your cervix is examined using a colposcope.
The device has a bright light and a lens that lets the doctor examine your cervix better. Your cervix will be swabbed with a liquid like vinegar. It will make any suspicious sites prominent. The doctor can check them through the lens of the colposcope. If certain areas don’t look fine, the doctor will take a biopsy (sample). The sample will be sent to the laboratory for further testing. Your cervix may be swabbed with a chemical solution to check bleed.
Does a Positive Pap Smear Result Hint at the Presence of Cervical Cancer?
It means that some cervical cells don’t look normal. Sometimes, this can indicate precancerous alterations in the cervix. A negative test result doesn’t imply that you have cancer. However, you need to have follow-ups with the doctor.
Make sure to visit the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad to get Pap smear tests regularly as recommended.