PAP smear for Cervical Cancer Lab Test

PAP smear for Cervical Cancer
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Clinical Definition of PAP smear for Cervical Cancer

A Pap smear is used to diagnose and detect cancer of the cervix, by checking for a change in the cells in the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus or the womb, the place where the baby grows during pregnancy. The cells may change from normal cells to abnormal cells if there are symptoms of cancer or any sort of infection. Thus it is essential to get regular Pap tests, to prevent cervical cancer.

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

Why Get Tested?

A Pap smear is ordered to detect abnormal cells which could possibly appear prior to cancer or possible changes that could occur in the cervix in the case of cancer. It may also be ordered as a preventive test for sexually active or menopausal women. It helps detect any noncancerous conditions, such as infection and inflammation.

Reason to take PAP smear for Cervical Cancer Test

Cervical cancer usually does not have any specific symptoms that are necessarily visible at early stages. However, the screening of women for cervical cancer is essential today and helps monitor the health and well being of women. Symptoms tend to pop up only at a more advanced stage, some of which may be:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Unusual or heavy bleeding

Preparations Needed for PAP smear for Cervical Cancer Test

Preparatory instructions before the test *:

The following can cause a false result and hence must be avoided:

  • Avoid the test during menstruation
  • Avoid having sex for 24 hours before the test
  • Avoid Douching
  • Avoid using tampons
  • Avoid using vaginal creams, suppositories, and medicines
  • Avoid using vaginal deodorant sprays or powders

Sample Required?

Diagnostic procedure:

  • A special instrument called a speculum may be inserted into the vagina to expose the cervix and take a sample
  • A sample of the cervical cells is collected with a small brush or a cotton swab
  • The sample is then transferred on a glass slide and checked under a microscope to see whether the cells are normal

Understanding results of PAP smear for Cervical Cancer

Reference RangeInterpretation
No abnormal cellsNegative

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

 

References

  1. https://familydoctor.org/condition/cervical-cancer/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2218273/