Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Health Issues - to PAP SMEAR or NOT to PAP SMEAR

The place I work for the pas 12 years has made some health initiatives  to the staff. We have been receiving emails on compulsory health screenings for those over 40 years old. Apart from that they also conduct PAP SMEAR screening to any interested female staff. So here's some input for those ladies out there .. don't forget to do your annual health checkup and pap smear! The Health Centre emailed a summary information about PAP Smear screening and I am sharing it with all on the net :-).
A Pap smear is a microscopic examination of cells scraped from the opening of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina.
It is a screening test for cervical cancer.
How the Test is Performed
You will lie on a table. The doctor or nurse will place an instrument (called a speculum) into the vagina and open it slightly. This allows the doctor or nurse to better see inside the vagina and cervix.
Cells are gently scraped from the cervix area, and sent to a lab for examination.
How to Prepare for the Test
Make sure your doctor or nurse knows about all the medicines you are taking. Some birth control pills that contain estrogen or progestin may interfere with test results.
Also tell your doctor or nurse if you:
  • Have had an abnormal Pap smear
  • Might be pregnant
Avoid the following for 24 hours before the test:
  • Douching
  • Having intercourse
  • Taking a bath
  • Using tampons
It is ideal to have a Pap smear done 10-20 days after the start of your last period.
 Menstrual fluid and blood may make it difficult for the pathologist to interpret results. Newer, liquid based Pap smears can separate cervical cells from mucus and blood, allowing a more accurate reading. Empty your bladder just before the test.
How the Test Will Feel
A Pap smear may cause some discomfort, similar to menstrual cramps. You may also feel some pressure during the exam.  You may bleed a little bit after the test.
Why the Test is Performed
It has been seen that women who do not participate in screening programs, and women whose interval between smears is more than 3 years, are at highest risk for developing cervical carcinoma (Figo Committee on Gynaecological Oncology, 2000).
In Malaysia, all women who are, or who have been sexually active, between the ages of 20 and 65 years, are recommended to undergo Pap smear testing. If the first two consecutive Pap results are negative, screening every three years is recommended. The Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer.
Most cervical cancers can be detected early if a woman has routine Pap smears.
You may not need to have a Pap smear if you have had a total hysterectomy (uterus and cervix removed) and have not had an abnormal Pap smear, cervical cancer, or other pelvic cancer.


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