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The cervix is the opening to the uterus (womb). It can be seen at the top of the vagina. The cells on the cervix can become cancerous. The change from normal cells to cancer cells takes time. Changes detected early can be treated before cancer develops. A Pap test is a way to look for changing or cancerous cells on the cervix.
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A Pap test is often done as part of a pelvic exam. It is done to check cervical cells for changes ( cervical dysplasia ) that could develop into cancer. It can also detect cancer cells.
The current recommendations are:
- If you are aged 21-29 years—have the Pap test every two years
- If you are aged 30 or older—have the Pap test every three years
- If you are aged 65 or older—You may be able to stop having Pap tests if you have had three normal results in a row and no abnormal results in the past 10 years.
- Note:You will need to have Pap tests done more often if you have abnormal results or certain conditions, like a suppressed immune system or a history of cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor about the right screening...
Call Your Doctor
After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Foul vaginal odor, pain, or unusual vaginal discharge
- Severe abdominal pain or swelling
In case of emergency, CALL 911.