By Riva Preil
The Pap test is a test routinely performed by gynecologists to evaluate cervical cells in order to check for cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. In other words, it can help nip cancer in the bud by detecting abnormal growths before they develop into cancer. In fact, Pap test screening every three years is associated with decreased cervical mortality rate by 70%! For clarification- the Pap test screens for cancer, which mean that it provides information about one’s risk for developing cancer. It is NOT used as a diagnostic tool. The Pap test checks for changes in the cervix called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and these are slow growing growths which can be treated with early detection.
How can one best prepare for a Pap test to assure the most accurate results possible? Please follow the pointers below for the best results:
- Avoid vaginal medications or douches for twenty four hours prior to the test .
- Try to avoid Pap testing during menses, because excess blood may interfere with the results.
- Avoid intercourse and/or contraceptive creams and jelly during the twenty four hours prior to the test.
- Please inform your gynecologist of any other vulvar or vaginal discomfort or symptoms you have been experiencing (ex. itching, burning during urination, or pain) so that they can determine whether the Pap test is appropriate at present.
Good luck to you on test day and may you pass with flying colors in the best of health!