Abnormal Smear, HPV and Preinvasive Cervical Pathologies
Smear Test, HPV Test and Preinvasive Cervical Pathologies
Pap smear test is a test for detection of cervical cancer precursors or early findings of cancer. The cervix is the neck of the uterus where the uterus joins the vagina.
The vagina is gently opened with a device called a speculum, which looks like a duck’s bill during taking the smear. With a small instrument, cells on the cervical surface are collected by swabbing. This procedure can be a little uncomfortable, but shouldn’t hurt. The collected cells are examined in the pathology laboratory. The smear test is a SCREENING test for cervical cancer.
Preparation Before Smear Test or HPV Test
There is nothing special you need to be prepared for before the test. In the past, it was recommended that sexual intercourse be interrupted for 2 days before the test, but we now know that it is not necessary. Having a sexual intercourse just before the test, using vaginal lubricant or cream does not preclude the smear test.
It is preferable that you are not on your period. In the presence of mild bleeding, a smear test can be taken. If menstrual bleeding is heavy, it will be appropriate to postpone the smear test to the end of bleeding.
Smear test should be started at the age of 21. In women aged 30 and over, HPV testing is recommended as well as smears. The technique of the HPV test is similar to the smear. Both can be taken at the same time.
Based on your age, presence of additional disease, or your previous smear/HPV test results, your doctor will recommend the frequency of your smear tests. Generally speaking, it is appropriate to have a smear test every three years for women aged 21-29, a smear test every 3 years after 30 years of age and above or more ideally a HPV test plus smear test every 5 years. In women over 65 years of age who have previously had normal smear and HPV tests and have no gynecologic problems, the smear test can be stopped.
Smear or HPV testing is no longer required in women whose uterus has been removed for a reason unrelated to the cervix.
Abnormal Smear Test or Positive HPV Test Result
You can find detailed information about HPV under the ‘Questions related to HPV’ section in the ‘Questions-Answers’ part on our website.
Your smear test and/or HPV test result may not be normal. Don’t worry! The first thing you should know is that the abnormal smear result is more frequent than you think. Pap Smear is only a SCREENING test. The vast majority of women with abnormal smears do not have cancer.
Depending on the detail of your test result, additional evaluations may be required. In some cases, we look at the cervix in more detail with colposcopy (for detailed information, you can refer to the ‘Colposcopy’ section on our website). In cases where colposcopy is not required, we can call for close follow-up with HPV or smear test.
If necessary, a biopsy is taken during colposcopy. In conclusion, even if a cancer precursor lesion or cancer is detected, there are quite effective treatment methods available. Keep in mind; The purpose of having the screening test is to make an early diagnosis. Women who have had regular smear/HPV tests from the beginning are less likely to have cervical cancer at some point in their lives than other women.