No one enjoys getting a Pap test. However, the fact is that regular testing could save your life. The few minutes of discomfort that you may experience during your Pap test will help doctors to detect and remove abnormal cells before they develop into cervical cancer.
Here’s what you need to know about Pap tests:
Cervical cancer doesn’t have clear symptoms: the warning signs for the disease, such as abnormal bleeding or vaginal discharge often go unnoticed, ignored, or are mistaken as “normal”. Pap testing takes a look at the cells on the cervix and tells your physician if there are any abnormal changes to the cervix that could imply a greater risk of cancer. By getting tested you will give yourself the best possible chance of finding and treating pre-cancerous cells, and preventing cervical cancer.
Sexual activity means you need a Pap test. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship or have abstained from sex for a long period of time, if you have had any sexual contact in the past, or present, you need a Pap test. The more people you (and your partner and previous partners) have slept with, the more likely you are to have contracted HPV (human papillomavirus), the cause of most cervical cancers. It is thought that most sexually active women have encountered the virus at some point in their lives.
Condoms don’t prevent against HPV. Even if you practice safe sex, you could have been exposed to HPV. Condoms aren’t 100% effective in protecting you from this particular virus. In addition, although genital HPV is classified as a sexually transmitted disease, it can be passed on through any sexual contact, not just full intercourse.
The HPV vaccination doesn’t mean you don’t need Pap tests. Whilst the HPV vaccine can protect against some cervical cancers, it is not effective in preventing all strains of the HPV virus. So don’t be lulled into thinking that the vaccination gives you total protection. Whilst the vaccination will help to prevent some strains of HPV, regular Pap smears are still essential to help pick up any changes to your cervix.
You’re not too old for a Pap test
If you are sexually active, regardless of your age, you will still benefit from regular Pap tests. If you are aged 65 or over, speak to your doctor. You WILL need Pap tests if: you have been treated for pre-cancer or cancer within the last 20 years.
If you are 65 or over and no longer sexually active you will not need a Pap test if you have had three normal Pap tests in a row, or one negative Pap and HPV test; if you have had not abnormal Pap tests in the last 10 years; or if you have not needed treatment for an abnormal Pap test in the last 20 years.
Above all, there is one thing that we must focus on this month: A Pap test could save your life
Join Alternative Cancer Treatment Mexico in raising awareness of the important of regular Pap tests and of maintaining cervical health. Together we can help to lower the risks of HPV and help to prevent cervical cancer.
If you would like to know more about cervical cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or any other cancer and whether it is treatable with ’s unique functional oncology program, contact us for a no obligation free consultation. Like a Pap test, this could be one call that you can’t afford not to make.