Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix.

It is recommended that women get regular pap smears every two to three years starting at age 20, following 2 consecutive years of normal pap smears 1 year apart.

Some women may be at increased risk for cancer or infection and need more frequent tests if:

  • HIV-positive
  • have a weakened immune system from chemotherapy/ organ transplant


How is it done?

During the procedure, you’ll lie on your back on an examination table with your legs spread.

Your doctor will insert a device called a speculum into your vagina to keep the vaginal walls open and provides access to the cervix.

Your doctor will scrape a small sample of cells from your cervix. There are a few ways your doctor can take this sample:

  • Spatula only.
  • Spatula and a brush.
  • Cytobrush, which is a combination spatula and brush.

Most women feel a slight push and irritation during the brief scraping.

The sample of cells from your cervix will be preserved and sent to a lab to be tested for the presence of abnormal cells.

After the test, you might feel mild discomfort from the scraping or a bit of cramping. You could also experience very light vaginal bleeding immediately following the test. Tell your doctor if discomfort or bleeding continues after the day of the test.