What is Pap Smear Screening?
A PAP smear is a simple screening test for cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the 5th most common cancer that affects women in Singapore, with 300 women a year being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Infection by certain high-risk strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which are acquired through sexual contact, is a significant risk factor which leads to the eventual development of cervical cancer and is present for years before cell changes occur. Infection of the cervix by HPV causes changes in the cells of the cervix, leading to abnormal growth and eventually, cancer.
What you should know
A regular PAP smear helps to detect early, pre-cancerous changes and is a good screening tool to prevent full-blown cervical cancer.
A PAP smear involves using a brush to take a small sample of cells from the cervix during a vaginal examination for evaluation. It can be easily and quickly performed in the clinic with minimal discomfort. The sample obtained is then examined under a microscope to detect abnormalities in the cells that may suggest cancer or a pre-cancerous condition.
The PAP smear is an effective test which facilitates early detection and treatment of cervical cancer and is part of the recommended routine cancer screening by the Ministry of Health. Every sexually active female above the age of 21 should undergo regular PAP smears as part of their routine health screening.
The PAP smear is an excellent screening tool, but it is not perfect. Occasional false negatives (i.e. a normal PAP smear) may occur even in the presence of abnormalities of the cervix. Thankfully, most pre-cancerous lesions grow slowly and if you undergo your regular PAP smears, most abnormalities will be detected early.
A brush is used to obtain a sample of cervical cells to look for cellular abnormalities that may indicate a pre-cancerous or cancerous condition. Rapid HPV Test + Thin Prep test allows you to identify not just cervical cancer or pre-cancerous state, but also High-risk HPV infection which can precede cell changes.