What is Pap test?
A Pap test is one of many tests you will do when you have a regular health check-up. The Pap test looks at the cells of your cervix. It can show unhealthy changes in these cells. Unhealthy cells can sometimes lead to cancer. It does not screen for ovarian cancer.
Why do I need a Pap test?
Cases of and deaths from cervical cancer have gone down by over 60% in the last 30 years, mostly due to screening using regular Pap tests. Yet, every week, about 10 Ontario women will get cancer of the cervix and three women will die from it. Many women who have cancer of the cervix have never had a Pap test. Having regular Pap tests and early treatment, if necessary, can prevent most cancers of the cervix.
How often should I have a Pap test?
The current Ontario Screening Guidelines recommend that women have a Pap test:
· Every 3 years
It is important to continue having a Pap test after menopause (when your monthly periods stop). Women who have sex with women and women who no longer have sex also need regular Pap tests. Women over 70 can stop having Pap tests if they have had at least three normal tests in the past 10 years.
Women who has had total hysterectomy ( no uterus , no cervix) may be exempted from the pap test , talk to your doctor about that.
The risk of cancer of the cervix increases as you get older