“The Pap test (also called a Pap smear or cervical cytology)
collects cervical cells so they can be checked for changes
caused by HPV that may—if left untreated—turn into…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Pap Test Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Cervical Screening Procedure/Test
  • Pap Smear
  • Pap Smear Test
  • Pap Test
  • Smear Test

Pap Test

What is a Pap test?

DotS the definition of a Pap test may vary. The (United States) National Institute of Cancer’s (NCI) definition is:

“The Pap test (also called a Pap smear or cervical cytology) collects cervical cells so they can be checked for changes caused by HPV that may—if left untreated—turn into cervical cancer. It can find precancerous cells and cervical cancer cells. A Pap test also sometimes finds conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or inflammation”.2

Cervical Screening

What is cervical screening?

DotS the definition of cervical screening may vary. The United Kingdom) NHS’s definition is:


Pap Test

  • “Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix.
    The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina
  • It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer”.3

Ovarian Cancer

Does a Pap test screen for ovarian cancer?

In Gynecologic Cancers: Ovarian Cancer – What Should I Know About Screening? the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note:

“The Pap test does not check for ovarian cancer. The only cancer the Pap test screens for is cervical cancer”.4

Uterine Cancer

Does a Pap test screen for uterine cancer?

In Gynecologic Cancers: Uterine Cancer – What Should I Know About Screening? the CDC explain:

“The Pap test does not screen for uterine cancer”.5

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Does a Pap test screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

In Sexually Transmitted Infections: Does A Pap Test Screen for STIs? the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov explain:

“No. Pap testing is mainly used to look for cell changes that could be cancer or precancer. However, your doctor may test you for HPV in addition to doing the Pap test if you are older than 30.

If you want to be tested for STIs, you must ask your doctor or nurse”.6

In STD Testing: What’s Right for You? the (United States) Mayo Clinic also caution:

“Don’t assume that you’re receiving STI testing every time you have a pelvic exam or Pap test. If you think that you need STI testing, talk to your health care provider. Tell your provider about your concerns and what tests you would like or need”.7

HIV

Does a Pap test screen for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?

No. In HIV and AIDS: Diagnosis the NHS note:

“The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test, as symptoms of HIV may not appear for many years. Anyone who thinks they could have HIV should get tested”.8

Early Detection

Is there an association between the early detection of cervical cancer and regular Pap tests.

In Cervical Cancer the ACS explain:

“Cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes even prevented entirely, by having regular Pap tests. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers”.9

Not Screened

Is there an association between cervical cancer and not having regular Pap Tests?

In Cervical Cancer: Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Prevention – The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer: Importance of Being Screened for Cervical Cancer the ACS note:

“Despite the benefits of cervical cancer screening, not all American women get screened. Most cervical cancers are found in women who have never had a Pap test or who have not had one recently. Women without health insurance and women who have recently immigrated are less likely to have cervical cancer screening”.10

Start

Can when to start Pap tests, vary?

Yes. Depending on You (DoY), DotS and/or Depending on Your Country’s (DoYC’s) cervical cancer screening program, when to start Pap tests, can vary. It may therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what’s-what for you.

 

Pap Test

Stop

Can when to stop Pap tests, vary?

Yes. Depending on You (DoY), DotS and/or Depending on Your Country’s (DoYC’s) cervical cancer screening program, when to start Pap tests, can vary. It may therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what’s-what for you.

A Mayo Clinic author explains:

“If you’re unsure whether you still need Pap tests, discuss with your doctor what’s best for you”.11

Screening Programs

Where may women find information about cervical cancer screening or early detection programs?

Women may find information about cervical cancer screening or early detection programs from their health care provider, or their country’s equivalent of a local community health center or a national and/or state Department/Center/Institute of Aging/Cancer/Disease Control and Prevention/Health/Human Services.

Or your country may have a free cervical cancer screening or early detection program similar to Australia’s, the United Kingdom’s or the United States’.

United States’ Screening Program

What is the United States’ cervical cancer early detection program?

In National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP): Find A Screening Program Near You the CDC elaborate on:

“CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to women who have low incomes and are uninsured or underinsured”.12

Health Care Provider

What if I would like a Pap test?

If you would like a Pap Test, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this or find out about a cervical cancer screening or early detection program.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Pap Tests?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Pap Tests?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Cervical Cancer Screening: What Is Cervical Cancer Screening? Updated: 13 October 2022. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/cervical/Patient/page3 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  2. Cervical Cancer Screening: What Is Cervical Cancer Screening? Updated: 13 October 2022. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/cervical/Patient/page3 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  3. Cervical Screening: What Is Cervical Screening? Page Last Reviewed: 31 March 2020. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/ Accessed: 17 November 2022
  4. Gynecologic Cancers: Ovarian Cancer – What Should I Know About Screening? Page Last Reviewed: 31 August 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian/basic_info/screening.htm Accessed: 17 November 2022
  5. Gynecologic Cancers: Uterine Cancer – What Should I Know About Screening? Page Last Reviewed: 30 August 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/uterine/basic_info/screening.htm Accessed: 17 November 2022
  6. Sexually Transmitted Infections: Does A Pap Test Screen for STIs? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/sexually-transmitted-infections Accessed: 17 November 2022
  7. STD Testing: What’s Right for You? 14 August 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-testing/art-20046019 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  8. HIV and AIDS: Diagnosis. Page Last Reviewed: 22 April 2021. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/diagnosis/ Accessed: 17 November 2022
  9. Cervical Cancer. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/index Accessed: 17 November 2022
  10. Cervical Cancer: Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Prevention – The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer: Importance of Being Screened for Cervical Cancer. Last Revised: 22 April 2021. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html Accessed: 17 November 2022
  11. Burnett, T. Still Needed After Hysterectomy? 22 October 2020 https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/expert-answers/pap-smear/faq-20058344 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  12. National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP): Find A Screening Provider Near You. Page Last Reviewed: 10 November 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/screenings.htm Accessed: 17 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 17 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 17 November 2022

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