A Pap smear is a test to screen for cancer of the cervix.
The cervix is the opening of the uterus that extends into the vagina. It’s a little plastic brush that we sweep across the front of the cervix to pick up some cells. The cells are then examined by a pathologist who reports whether your cells appear to be normal, precancerous, or other.
The most common results are “negative”, ASCUS (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance), LGSIL and HGSIL (low grade and high grade precancerous lesions).
Sometimes the Pap smear also tests for the presence of HPV (human papilloma virus). This virus is sexually transmitted and can lead to precancerous or cancerous changes. The virus is extremely common and as long as you are having regular check-ups, the chance of that virus causing a cancer is low.
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