Cervical Cancer Screening: Find out how it is diagnosed

    What is cervical cancer screening?

    Cervical cancer screening is mainly done in women’s health checkup. It is done to detect the abnormal cells from the cervix that could become cancerous. There are two types of tests for cervical cancer screening, one is Pap smear and other is HPV test. The cells are collected from the cervix which is the opening to the uterus and is located at the top of the vagina. Then the lab checks for abnormal cells or HPV infection.

    Most instances of cervical disease are caused by contamination with HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is an infection that enters cells and can make them change. A few sorts of HPV have been connected to cervical malignancy and also to the diseases of vulva, vagina, and penis, rear-end, mouth, and throat. Most of the time high risk types HPV infection cause cancer.

    HPV is passed from individual to individual due to sexual activity. People who are sexually active and choose sex partners randomly, then they get affected by HPV disease at least once in their lifetime. HPV contamination causes no side effects always. Most HPV contamination leaves the body in their own. These short terms contamination causes small changes in cervical cells. These affected cells get back to normal once the HPV contamination clears. But in fewer women, HPV infection does not go away. If a high risk type HPV infection remains for a long time, then it may cause serious changes in the cells which actually lead to cancer.

    Cervical cells take 3-7 years time to grow severe and then transform into cancer. In between these years, cervical cancer screening can find the changes in the cells before they transform into cancerous cells. Those women who get small changes in the cells are also requested to do the test to check whether the cells go back to normal or not. With severe, changing cells, women need to be treated by removing those cells.
    • Women at the age of 21 to 29 years are recommended to go for a PAP test at regular intervals of 3 years. The HPV test is not required.
    • Women at the age of 30 to 65 years ought to go for both Pap test and the HPV test at regular interval of 5 years. If anyone goes for Pap test only then it is suggested to do it every 3 years.
    • It is frequently asked when one should stop doing cervical cancer screening. It is suggested to stop after age of 65 years with no background of small or big abnormal cervical cells or tumor. Or else you can stop if your last two cot-testing that is Pap test and the HPV test results are negative for the last 10 years.
    • When a woman has a history of hysterectomy, then she also may need screening. It depends on the basis of the reason why hysterectomy was needed and if the cervix was removed. It is seen that after removal of cervix, sometimes cervical cells remain on the top of the vagina, which may lead to cancer and thus it is suggested to go for screening for 20 years after the time of surgery.

    Sometimes cervical cancer screening results are not accurate. It is observed that the result is showing abnormal cells where as actually there are such cells. This is known as False-positive result. Sometimes, the result shows no presence of abnormal cells where as there are abnormal cells. This is known as False-negative. To avoid these results, you need to use hygiene products before 2 days of test and stop doing sexual intercourse. Women are suggested not to do the test during the menstrual period.

    To confirm the abnormal test results, you need additional tests like colposcopy and cervical biopsy to find out how severe the changes are actually. If the results of those additional tests are severe, it is suggested to remove the abnormal cells by the doctor. After the removal doctor suggests doing the follow up testing after the treatment is over.

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