The Pap test (also called a Pap smear) is a screening test for cancer of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The test can help your doctor find early changes in the cells that could lead to cancer.
The sample of cells taken during your test has been sent to a lab so that an expert can look at the cells. It usually takes a week or two to get the results back.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
There are many other reasons why you might not get a normal result. If the results were abnormal, you may need to get another test within a few weeks or months. If the results show changes that could be a sign of cancer, you may need a test called a colposcopy, which provides a more complete view of the cervix.
Sometimes the lab cannot use the sample because it does not contain enough cells or was not preserved well. If so, you may need to have the test again. This is not common, but it does happen from time to time.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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