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Pap Test

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Also known as: Pap Smear; Cervical Smear; Cervical/Vaginal Cytology
Formal name: Papanicolaou Test

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At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To screen for cervical cancer and certain vaginal or uterine infections

When to Get Tested?

For women age 21 or older, once every 3 to 5 years depending on your age, risk factors, use of other screening tests, and your healthcare provider's advice

Sample Required?

Cells from the cervical area

Test Preparation Needed?

You may be instructed not to douche or tub bathe for 24 hours before the Pap test is to be performed. You may also be asked to refrain from sexual intercourse for 24 to 48 hours before the test. Do not use any vaginal creams or foams for 48 hours prior to the exam and do not schedule the test during your menstrual period.