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Cervical Cancer Screening (“Pap test”)

What is it?

Cervical cancer screening checks for signs of cervical precancer or cervical cancer before any symptoms appear. This screening is called a Papanicolaou test, also known as the “PAP” test. 

Who is it for?

All women between the ages of 21 and 65 are recommended to have a Pap test every 3 years. Women can stop screening at age 65 if the last two Pap tests done in the previous 10 years were normal.  

Women who have had a total hysterectomy do not require Pap tests. Women with abnormal Pap test results will be tested more frequently until they are advised they can resume regular screening. 

Where is it offered?

The PAP test is available through your local CMC.

What is it like?

Your nurse or doctor will ask you to lie down on your back on an exam table with your knees bent. Your heels may be placed in supports called stirrups. 

  • The nurse or doctor will gently place an instrument called a speculum in your vagina to help open it a bit wider. This is to help them see the inside of your vagina and your cervix.  
  • Using a swab, they will scrape a sample from your cervix. This procedure does not hurt. 
  • The sample will be sent to the lab to be processed.  
  • If the results are normal, you will be recommended to redo this test in 3 years.  
  • If the results are abnormal, your CMC will contact you for further tests to rule out precancer or cancer. 

How long does it last?

The test usually takes just a few minutes. 

How can I get this service?

This service is offered at your local CMC; ask your CHR, nurse or doctor. 

Where can I learn more?

Talk with your CHR, nurse or doctor for more information. 

Video: What is a Pap Test?

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