A Pap test is done to look for changes in the cells of the Reference cervix Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. During a Pap test, a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix is collected by your doctor. The sample is then spread on a slide (Pap smear) or mixed in a liquid fixative (liquid-based cytology) and sent to a lab for examination under a microscope. The cells are examined for abnormalities that may indicate abnormal cell changes, such as Reference dysplasia Opens New Window or Reference cervical cancer Opens New Window.
The recommended Reference Pap test schedule is based on your age and on things that increase your risk. Talk to your doctor about how often to have this test.
A high-risk type of the Reference human papillomavirus (HPV) Opens New Window is the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. In women older than 30, an HPV test may be done at the same time as a Pap test. If you are age 26 or younger, you can get the HPV shot to prevent infection with the types of HPV that are most likely to cause cervical cancer.
If your Pap test shows an abnormal result, see the topic Reference Abnormal Pap Test.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology