Statistics have shown that an increasing number of women have been diagnosed with cervical cancer in recent times. Because of the ability of cancerous cells to cause widespread damage in the body, one of the ways of managing cancers is by detecting them early and executing appropriate measures. A lot of emphases has thus been placed on the screening and examining different parts of the body for cancers. Pap smears are one of the methods of screening for cervical cancer potential. Because of the fact that cervical cancer has been found in both younger and older women, it is important to advocate for routine pap smears for women of childbearing age: the purpose of this article.
What are pap smears?
A pap smear is a method that is used for the screening of the cervix for abnormalities which can result in the development of cancer. The cervix is part of the reproductive tract of women: the lower one-third of the female reproductive tract. During a pap smear, a part of the cervix is taken and examined for abnormal growth and structures. Pap smears are simple processes which can be carried out in about ten minutes during a routine pelvic exam.
During a pap smear, cells of the cervix are taken and examined. The cells are taken with a soft brush, and the process involves the most minimal level of pain. When the cells of the cervix are examined routinely, abnormal ones can easily be picked up and their path terminated to prevent cancer. The ability to tell cells that have a cancerous path is the basis of the importance of pap smears. When pap smears pick up changes in cervical cells that could lead to cancer, the development of the cancer is prevented. Pap smears stop cervical cancer even before it manifests.
During a pap smear, the doctor examines the cervical area with a speculum and then picks up the cells with a soft brush. The cells are then sent for microscopic examination to detect the abnormal ones. Certain changes occur in cells before cancer manifests. Pap smears pick up such changes warning of an impending cervical cancer.
As soon as a lady is sexually active, it is important for her to begin to undergo pap smears. Generally, pap smears are recommended for women as soon as they turn 21. From the age of 21, the advised frequency of pap smears is three times a year. From 30, the advised frequently of pap smears is two times yearly.
The link between sexual activity and the beginning of pap smears is the fact that cervical cancer is caused by Human Papilloma Virus, a sexually transmitted infection. Pap smears examine the changes in the cells due to the infection. HPV is a common virus.
As earlier stated, pap smears are a sure preventive measure against cervical cancer as the detect precancerous cells giving off signals of future cervical cancer. It is important to take the necessary measures to prevent cancer. One of such measures is pap smears.
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