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Pap Test (Papanicolaou Test or Pap Smear)

A Pap test is done to look for changes in the cells of the cervix.

During a Pap test, a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix is collected. The sample is then spread or smeared on a slide (Pap smear) or mixed in a liquid fixative and sent to a lab to be looked at under a microscope. The cells are examined for cell changes that may be or can lead to cervical cancer.

A Pap test is usually done as part of a woman's regular pelvic exam.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedDecember 28, 2010

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