Cervical cancer screening is used to find changes in the cells of the cervix that could lead to cancer. Screening includes cervical cytology (also called the Pap test or Pap smear), testing for human papillomavirus (HPV), or both. All women should have cervical cancer screening on a regular basis.
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with HPV. HPV is a virus. It enters cervical cells and can cause them to change. Some types of HPV have been linked to cervical cancer as well as to cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat. Types of HPV that may cause cancer are known as “high-risk types.”
These and other types of HPV can be passed from person to person during sexual activity. HPV is very common—most people who are sexually active will get an HPV infection in their lifetime. HPV infection often causes no symptoms. Most people do not even know they are infected.
How is cervical cancer screening done?
Cervical cancer screening includes the Pap test/LBC, an HPV test, or both. Both tests use cells taken from the cervix. The screening process is simple and fast.
Patient is laid down on the examination table , vagina is exposed with a speculum Cells are removed from the cervix with a brush or other sampling instrument. The cells usually are put into a special liquid and sent to a laboratory for testing
For a Pap test, the sample is examined to see if abnormal cells are present.
For an HPV test, the sample is tested for the presence of the most common high-risk HPV types. Usually, the sample taken for the Pap test also can be used for the HPV test. Sometimes, two cell samples are taken. It depends on the type of Pap test that is used.