A Pap smear or test is performed to test women for cervical cancer. By collecting cells from your cervix, your doctor can run tests to determine if cancer cells are present or not. Early detection increases your chance for curing cervical cancer.
An abnormal Pap smear could indicate a number of things such as an infection, sexually transmitted disease, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) or even dysplasia, which are abnormal cells that can be pre-cancerous. It is important to remember that these are just indications of what could possibly cause an abnormal Pap smear. Further tests are needed to determine if there is an actual problem or not.
We recommend women begin getting annual Pap smears at the age of 21 or within three years of becoming sexually active.