Friday, 20 June 2014

Pap Smear - is it necessary??

What is a Pap Smear??

A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women. A Pap smear involves collecting cells from your cervix — the lower, narrow end of your uterus that's at the top of your vagina.

Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear gives you a greater chance at a cure. A Pap smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a Pap smear is your first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer.

photo credited by google
To ensure that your Pap smear is most effective, follow these tips prior to your test:

Avoid intercourse, douching or using any vaginal medicines or spermicidal foams, creams or jellies for two days before having a Pap smear, as these may wash away or obscure abnormal cells.

Try not to schedule a Pap smear during your menstrual period. Although the test can be done, it's best to avoid this time of your cycle, if possible.

During the Pap smear

A Pap smear is performed in your doctor's office and takes only a few minutes. You may be asked to undress completely or only from the waist down.

You'll lie down on your back on an exam table with your knees bent. Your heels rest in supports called stirrups.

Your doctor will gently insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum holds the walls of the vagina apart so that your doctor can easily see your cervix. Inserting the speculum may cause a sensation of pressure in your pelvic area.

Then your doctor will take samples of your cervical cells using a soft brush or a flat scraping device called a spatula. This usually doesn't hurt.

After the Pap smear

After your Pap smear, you can go about your day without restrictions.

Depending on the type of Pap test you're undergoing, your doctor transfers the cell sample collected from your cervix into a container holding a special liquid to preserve the sample (liquid-based Pap test) or onto a glass slide (conventional Pap test).

The samples are transferred to a laboratory where they're examined under a microscope to look for characteristics in the cells that indicate cancer or a precancerous condition.

Ask your doctor about when you can expect the results of your Pap smear. In some cases, your doctor will contact you only if something of concern is found or if it's determined that you need further testing.

My Experience..

A group of women in my village has set up a free pap smear checking for all women within the village. This is to ensure that the women will come and attend the procedure. Its a collaboration with the village clinic as well. I came because I understand that by doing so, we can actually detect early if we have any cervical cancer. The procedure was not that time consuming. It was just a little bit uncomfortable. The nurse inserted a device into my vagina and collected a sample of the cells from my cervix. The result was said will to be given around two months after..lots have turned up for the free pap smear check up..i was told there's gonna be another free pap smear check up next year..

Usually they will inform if they found any abnormality. 
Alhamdulillah, I have just gotten my results this week..no cancer or any abnormality of the sort..I'm so relieved.

To those who have yet to do a pap smear, please do so..most hospitals and government clinics handle this procedure..


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