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What is a Pap Smear?

Advocated for women over 16, itís a procedure in which a sample of cervical cells is collected and spread on a microscope slide. The cells are then examined to detect premalignant or malignant cancerous changes.

The test identifies minor cellular abnormalities before theyíve had a chance to become malignant, at a point when the condition is most easily treatable. Without this test, itís impossible to detect the early stages of cervical cancer.

The best screening time is between 10 and 20 days after the first day of your period. In the two days leading up to your test, take a shower rather than a bath, and avoid douching or spermicides, as they may hide abnormal cervical cells.

Human pap smear showing clamydia in the vacuoles
at 500x and stained with H&E.

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