Pap Smear Dubai | 18 May 2022
We know what causes cervical cancer.
Nearly all cervical cancer is caused by a virus called HPV (human papillomavirus).
Cervical cell changes happen slowly.
It can take many years for cells infected with HPV to develop into cervical cancer.
We have great tools to prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination can prevent cervical cancer.
Better screening tests mean less frequent screening.
Because of improvements in cervical cancer screening, guidelines now recommend less frequent screening than before.
Abnormal test results don’t mean that you have cancer.
An abnormal cervical screening test result does not mean that you have cervical cancer. It means that cervical cell changes were found or that cells are infected with HPV. Depending on the results, you may need follow-up testing or treatment. Treatment for cervical cell changes works well.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cell changes
HPVs are a group of related viruses, some of which are spread through sexual contact and can cause cancer, including cervical cancer. Here are some basic facts about HPV:
There are many types of sexually transmitted human papillomaviruses (HPVs).
– High-risk HPV types can infect cervical cells and cause cervical cancer. They can also infect certain other cells to cause anal cancer, penile cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer in the middle of the throat, including the tonsils and the back of the tongue).
– Low-risk HPV types can cause genital warts. These are warts on the external and internal sex organs and glands. Genital warts do not turn into cancer.
Smoking may increase the risk that an HPV infection will persist and develop into cervical cancer. So if you smoke and have an abnormal Pap or HPV test result, it is especially important to stop smoking.
HPV infections are common.
Most people who are sexually active will have an HPV infection at some point and never know it. HPV infections can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Although condoms can lower the risk of an HPV infection, they do not protect against them completely.
Most HPV infections, even with high-risk types, go away on their own without causing problems.
They are fought off by the body’s immune system. However, sometimes infections with high-risk HPV types do not go away. When a high-risk HPV infection of cervical cells lasts many years, the cells can become abnormal.
These changes can get worse over time and may become cervical cancer. Although there is currently no way to treat an HPV infection, cervical cancer can be prevented by detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells before they become cancer.
Screening tests for cervical cancer
Screening tests are used to check for disease when there are no symptoms. The goal of screening for cervical cancer is to find cell changes at an early stage before they become cancer and when treatment can prevent cancer from developing.
The HPV test checks cells for infection with high-risk HPV types that can cause cancer.
The Pap test (also called a Pap smear or cervical cytology) collects cervical cells and looks at them for changes caused by HPV that may—if left untreated—turn into cervical cancer. It can also detect cervical cancer cells. A Pap test sometimes finds conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or inflammation.
The HPV/Pap cotest uses a Pap test and HPV test together to check for both high-risk HPV and cervical cell changes.
What to expect
Cervical cancer screening is usually done during
a pelvic exam, which takes only a few minutes. During this exam, you lie on your back on an exam table, bend your knees, and put your feet into supports at the end of the table. The health care provider uses a speculum to gently open your vagina in order to see the cervix. A soft, narrow brush or tiny spatula is used to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix.
The sample of cervical cells is sent to the lab and checked for abnormal cervical cells. The same sample can also be checked for HPV, with an HPV test. When both a Pap test and an HPV test are done, this is called HPV/Pap cotest.