Did you know that having regular pap smears is one of the best gifts you can give your body? If that sounds strange, consider the fact that a pap smear can detect changes that can lead to cervical cancer in the future. That’s right: it could indicate that cancer could strike, giving you the best defence against the disease, long before you become ill.
Here are some more facts you need to know about this vital test.
A pap smear involves collecting cells from your cervix
Also known as a pap test, it’s a procedure that involves collecting cells from your cervix – the lower, narrow end of your uterus – to test for cervical cancer, or abnormalities that could lead to cervical cancer. All sexually active women under the age of 65 should have regular pap smears.
A pap smear doesn’t detect STIs
The pap smear only detects cell changes in the cervix; it does not tell you if you have an STI, including HPV – even though HPV infections may result in abnormal cells that could be picked up by the test. There are separate tests to check for STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. The pap test sample may be used to test for high-risk HPV. Read more about HPV and why it’s so important to protect yourself.
It’s a myth that pap smears are very painful
A pap smear shouldn’t hurt, but it might feel a bit uncomfortable. That said, it’s over very quickly – it only takes a minute. It’s also a myth that a pap test ‘stretches’ your vagina.
You don’t need to go to a specialist for a pap smear
Don’t have a gynaecologist? That’s not a problem. Pap smears are standard, common tests that you can have at any public clinic or sexual healthcare provider like Marie Stopes. You don’t have to go to a gynae or other type of specialist doctor to have it done.
Detecting cervical cancer early, using a pap smear, gives you a greater chance at effective treatment
Besides indicating cancer, a pap smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest the disease may develop in the future. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a pap smear is your first step towards halting the possible development of cervical cancer, and getting early, effective treatment.
You can book an appointment for a pap smear online
All Marie Stopes centres offer pap smears, as well as special wellness check-ups for women to ensure that you’re healthy, and that your body is functioning as it should. Find your closest branch, and then book an appointment online for a pap smear or a women’s wellness check-up, provided by our qualified, caring staff. You’ll be happy you did.