Why get a Pap test?
A Pap test and pelvic exam are important parts of a woman’s routine health care because they can detect cancer or abnormalities that may lead to cancer of the cervix. Women should have a Pap test at least once every three years, beginning about three years after they begin to have sexual intercourse, but no later than age 21.
If the Pap test shows abnormalities, further tests and/or treatment may be necessary.
Some human papillomaviruses (HPV) are the primary cause of cervical cancer.
When should the Pap test be done?
A woman should have this test when she is not menstruating. For about two days before a Pap test, she should avoid douching or using vaginal medicines or spermicidal foams, creams or jellies (except as directed by a physician). These may wash away or hide abnormal cells.
As always, discuss your individual Pap testing needs with your practitioner.
For additional information:
Discuss with your physician.
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Adapted from: National Cancer Institute (NCI)