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Importance of PAP smear test in diagnosing cervical cancer

BY: Deena David | Category: Women | Post Date: 2009-07-23

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   Deena David
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To prevent or to diagnose cervical cancer, the use of Pap smear cannot be over emphasized. This is because early diagnosis is the secret to a successful treatment of cervical cancer. This highlights the importance of Pap smear.

A Pap smear is actually Papanicolaou smear. It is a cell examination that is mainly used for prevention and early detection of cancerous and pre cancerous lesions of the cervix. Pap smear is a safe and cost effective procedure. It is composed of a cellular material obtained from the uterine cervix and placed on a slide. The cells are then specially preserved and sent to a cytopathology laboratory for investigation.

Pap smear can also be used to detect vaginal infection. It can also help in making a hormonal evaluation. The Pap smear should be taken yearly in women who are sexually active. It is also told that it can be taken once in two years if there are no abnormalities in Pap smear taken in three consecutive years.

Women who do not have any sexual activity can have the Pap smear done yearly after the age of thirty five. Menopausal women and those who have had hysterectomy done (removal of uterus), should have a Pap smear done every year. The yearly test is done because of the importance of Pap smear in diagnosing cervical cancer.

Majority of the precancerous abnormalities associated with the uterine cervix, progress at a very slow rate. This helps in identification and treatment before a malignancy is developed. Though most cancers are slow in spreading, there are some types of cancers and abnormalities that can spread so rapidly that early detection and treatment are critical.

Preparation for a Pap smear:

1. There may be a little discomfort during the procedure, but it is usually painless and safe.

2. Do not douche 48 hours before the Pap smear.

3. Do not use any vaginal creams for a one-week period before the Pap smear.

4. Abstain from sexual activity for one day before the Pap smear is done.

5. There must be no vaginal bleeding, menses, or any discharge from other sources.

6. There must be no vaginal discharge.

Evaluation of the result of the Pap smear will help a person to know the frequency of further tests. When there are any lesions identified in the vagina that is identified with Pap smear, then a biopsy can be done to confirm the diagnosis of cancer.

This is the reason for the increased emphasis for women to undergo Pap test to least once every year.

Article Source: http://www.saching.com

About Author / Additional Info: I have completed my Masters Degree in Paediatric Nursing. I am a writer with a passion for writing. I have been writing for some blogs and other sites. Comments are welcome at the following e mail address: deenaanddavid@gmail.com

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