19. Do you need a Pap test?
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.
- Contact Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900 toll-free, (920) 738-2230 in the Fox Cities, or (920) 231-6578 in Oshkosh.
Adapted from: National Cancer Institute (NCI)