Well, I got my reminder letter a month or so ago, and this morning I took myself off to the doctor for my regular pap smear. Not an appointment to look forward to but a necessary event nevertheless.
No-one likes having a pap smear test done, it can be uncomfortable and all of us would rather share our private parts with someone we love rather than the local doctor or family planning clinic. But, this is no excuse, pap tests are an important way of maintaining menstrual health, and every woman should do it.
What is a pap smear test and why do we need them?
A pap smear refers to a sample of cervical wall cells which are obtained by scraping the cervix during a pelvic examination. Practitioners generally also visually observe the cervix during the smear to detect any abnormalities.
Pap smears are important because they can detect cancer of the uterine cervix or precancerous conditions – abnormalities of the cervix that may lead to cancer.
Every woman should have a pap smear done regularly once she becomes sexually active and is 18 years of age or older. In Australia, it is recommended that a smear should be done every 5 years, it may be different in the US / UK / Europe and elsewhere.
The Facts about Cervical Cancer – go to http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/facts
Common myths about Pap Smears – go to http://www.microtech.com.au/papsmears/Myths.htm
More links and information on Pap Smears