WHAT YOUR PAP SMEAR RESULTS TELL YOU
A Pap smear detects cells in your cervix that could become cancerous. Think of it as a five-minute test which could save your life, literally. So what happens if you get an abnormal result? Here’s what to expect.
Decode the medical jargon in your report.
Any test has two possible outcomes: positive and negative. With Pap smears, you’re gunning for the latter. A negative result means there’s nothing to worry about, whereas a positive result indicates that your cervix has some abnormal cells, which could potentially develop into cervical cancer. You’ll need to catch this as early as possible, which is why you shouldn’t skip your Pap smears. When abnormal cells first appear, there are no symptoms. But by the time the symptoms – like abnormal discharge or bleeding – emerge, the cells could have become cancerous.
Get screened once every three years, especially if you’re above 25 or sexually active. That’s because cervical cancer is usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted. You can quit after you turn 70, provided you’ve had three consecutive negative screening tests.
Dr Chia Yin Nin, gynaecological oncologist, Gleneagles Hospital Singapore