Why your routine Pap smear is important to your health.
Cervical cancer screening saves lives. Over the past 30 years in the United States, the number of cases of cervical cancer and deaths has decreased by one half. This is mainly the result of women getting regular cervical cancer screening.
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. Most women should have cervical cancer screening on a regular basis.
It usually takes three to seven years for high-grade changes in cervical cells to become cancer. Cervical cancer screening may detect these changes before they become cancer. Women with low-grade changes can be tested more frequently to see if their cells go back to normal. Women with high-grade changes can get treatment to have the cells removed