What Is Cervical Cancer Screening Test?
Cervical Cancer is a type of cancer which causes the formation of carcinogenic cells in the lower part of the vagina called cervix. It is mostly due to the presence of an HPV Virus or the Human Papilloma virus. The screening test that is used to test the presence of cancerous cells in the cervix is known as the cervical cancer screening test.
Cervical Cancer can be prevented or taken care of by early diagnosis of the presence of cancerous cells in the cervix. Some of the symptoms of cancer include increased vaginal discharge, heavy menstrual bleeding, presence of blood spots even after periods is done with, etc. Hence taking regular screening tests for women between the ages of 21 to 60 is quite important. These are the different tests you could take:-
- Pap Smear Test
The Pap Smear Test or simply Pap Test checks the presence of any cell changes in the cervix thus giving a hint of cancerous cells that cause cervical cancer if not treated properly. This is mostly used for any early detection of the presence of cancer and is done by taking a smear of cells from the cervix and getting it tested.
- HPV Test
The cells collected from the cervix are put to test the presence of the HPV virus which is the main cause of changes in the cells leading to cervical cancer.
- VIA Test
The Visual Inspection test involves applying a diluted solution of acetic acid to the cervix and then testing it with the use of the naked eye. The applied portion might show a white color when applied with vinegar.
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When To Get Screened With HPV Test?
Both the Pap Test and HPV test can be taken for women between the ages of 20 to 65.
The Pap test is usually done from the age of 21 years. If the results are normal, then the test needs to be taken only after 3 years. Whereas in case of an HPV Test, waiting period until the next test if found normal is up to five years. Both the HPV and Pap test can be taken together as well. And if these results are fine, then you can wait until five years for the next test.
For a person above the age of sixty-five or so, it is not necessary to take a test if the previous tests continuously showed normal results. In some cases, the cervix might have been surgically removed for removal of fibroid or hysterectomy, etc. In such cases, taking the screening test is not needed. It is always better to consult a gynecologist or oncologist before getting the screening test done.
Benefits Of Cervical Cancer Screening
The results of the cervical screening tests take up to 3 weeks to receive in your hands. If anything is found abnormal, your doctor will tell you the appropriate treatments and medicines for the same. Presence of any abnormality might not always indicate cervical cancer. Taking regular screening tests can help find precancers and treat them. Also taking HPV vaccinations can also prevent cancer from spreading to the cells of your body.
Before going for a screening test, you should consult with your doctor first. Women who are prone to have cancer should take the screening tests as early as you can to take preventive measures, medicines, and treatments.