A Pap smear, is a screening test for cervical cancer determining cervical cancer in women. Cells are collected from the cervix, smeared on a slide, sent to a lab for testing. It is useful to find early cell alterations that may lead to cancer. The test is also known as the PAP test. According to the guidelines, women should get regular Pap smears test done every three years (after 21 years of age). Patients who are immunocompromised should strictly include this examination in their life. Although the test may be little uncomfortable for the person undergoing this, it can be done quickly. Sometimes, women may have light vaginal bleeding after the test but that is considered normal if it stops on its own and does not become heavy.
For this test, the doctor requires to collect a sample of your cell structures present on your cervix. The procedure is performed at the doctor's clinic and requires around 15-20 minutes.
In a PAP smear, your cervical cells are scraped out using a metallic or plastic speculum. This tool is inserted through your vagina to gently collect a sample of the cell bodies on the cervix. The sample is collected in a tiny glass jar. A liquid is poured into the jar to keep the cell structure from dying. The sample is then taken to a pathological center to closely study it.