Once a year, women are encouraged to have a pap smear, a procedure for screening cervical cancer. The Pap smear can detect certain anomalies in the cervix, including the presence of cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. For many, it is an uncomfortable procedure but the benefits far outweigh the costs as early detection of cervical cancer can lead to early treatment.
No. There is another test that is similar to the Pap. It’s called the HPV test. It uses the same procedure to collect cells for testing. The difference is that while the Pap test shows cell abnormality, the HPV test provides the DNA of the HPV virus which can alert your doctor about the type of HPV present.
That’s a decision for you and your doctor to discuss at your next visit.
Pap tests are not dangerous to pregnancy. If it’s been a while since you’ve had one, the first set of test during a pregnancy is a good opportunity to get one.
Yes. If your doctor feels that it is necessary, i.e. an abnormal pap test, you can have a colposcopy while pregnant.
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