What is a Pap Smear?
A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus.
What causes cervical cancer?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer. The type of HPV that develops into cancer is transmitted during sexual intercourse with someone who’s infected with HPV.
Who should get a Pap smear?
A Pap smear screens for cervical cancer. Your doctor uses a scraper or brush to take tissue from your cervix, then it’s sent to a laboratory where trained technicians check for precancerous or cancerous cellular changes.
When you follow the recommended schedule and consistently have Pap smears over the years, precancerous changes can be identified early and treated before they grow into cancer. It’s important to follow this schedule to be sure you catch cervical cancer at the earliest possible stage:
- Women aged 21-29: Pap smear every three years
- Women aged 30-65: Pap test and HPV test every five years or a Pap test alone every three years
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
At the early stage, you won’t have symptoms. As cancer affects surrounding tissues and begins to spread you may experience:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (longer, heavier, between periods, or after menopause)
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pain during sex
When will I receive my results?
Once completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How do I prepare? Do I need to fast?
No preparations and fasting needed. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.