The pap smear

> What is the Pap smear used for?

The pap test allows to diagnose the presence of cervical cancer, but also of any pretumor lesions. cancer.

In addition to the pap smear, there are several prevention tests that every woman should undergo. In the video below we recommend the main ones.

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> How does it take place? It hurts?

The patient is in a gynecological position and the doctor uses some instruments (which we will discuss shortly) to observe the cervix and take a capione of cells that will be analyzed in the laboratory. This examination is not painful, even if some women they find it a bit unpleasant.

> What tools are used?

There are two types of tools used to do the pap smear, both of which are effective. The first looks like a wooden tongue or spatula, the second looks like a long "cotton swab" at the end of which there is a soft brush.

> How and when do you get pap smear results?

Each doctor works with one or several laboratories that provide him with the material necessary to perform the examination and send the sample, which will then be analyzed in the laboratory. Generally, the laboratory then sends the results directly to the patient and the gynecologist.

> Does the pap smear detect other types of diseases or cancers?

If the cancer is advanced, it can spread to the neck of the uterus. In this case, it can be diagnosed through a pap smear. If, on the other hand, the cancer is in an early stage, this is often not possible. discover the presence of inflammations or infections, the nature of which he cannot reveal, in which case, it is necessary to undergo another sampling and other types of medical tests.

> From what age is it advisable to undergo a pap smear?

According to the European and national guidelines, the first pap test must be done at the age of 25. However, it is recommended to start being followed by a gynecologist after the first sexual intercourse; it will then be the doctor who decides when to submit the patient to the PAP test.

> How often?

All women between the ages of 25 and 64 should have a pap smear at least every three years. Naturally, then, each woman presents a different medical case (as well as different needs and fears), so the gynecologist will adjust the frequency of the pap smears based on all these factors. In patients who have risk factors for cervical cancer, however, the gynecologist may find it necessary to carry out pap tests more frequently. If the pap smear results are positive, the patient will need to do a colposcopy. The doctor will know how to orient it.

> Is there a time when it is no longer needed?

Generally, from the age of 65 you should be able to stop taking this exam. Even in this case, however, it must be remembered that every woman has a different medical history. The pap smear can continue to be done even after menopause. After a "hysterectomy, the doctor will decide whether or not the patient should continue to do it."

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> Is it dangerous during pregnancy?

If a pap smear is needed during pregnancy, it should be done as soon as possible. In the (rare) case in which an anomaly is discovered, the doctor may decide to subject the patient to other types of tests.

Read also the fact sheet on cervical cancer

To find out more about Pap tests, visit the Humanitas hospital website.

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