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Pap Test for Cervical Cancer Screening

A Pap test is a simple screening test that can help prevent cervical cancer. A Pap test looks for abnormal cell changes on the cervix.

Often, abnormal cells naturally return to normal. If they do not return to normal, a Pap test looks for these abnormal cells to determine if treatment is necessary. If left untreated for a number of years, abnormal cells can slowly turn into cervical cancer.

A Pap test does not test for other cancers in the reproductive organs, such as ovarian cancer, or for sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

A Pap test is done in a healthcare provider’s office.

Female reporductive system

An instrument called a speculum is inserted into a woman’s vagina so her cervix can be seen. Cells are taken from the cervix and are sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope.

For more information about how to protect yourself with regular Pap tests and understanding your results, go to the Patient Education page.

Last modified: Thu, Mar 16, 2017
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