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Pap Smear

mak_trouble891mak_trouble891 Posts: 563 Mod Squad
edited April 2017 in Nurse Nettie
What  is a pap smear? And when do you have to start having one?
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Comments

  • Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie Posts: 319 Mod Squad
    edited December 2016
    @mak_trouble891 A pap smear is a kind of test that looks for abnormal cell changes on the cervix. Human papillomavirus or HPV is almost always the cause of these abnormal cells and, if left untreated, they have the potential to become cancer. But don't let the C-word scare you off! A pap smear is about cancer prevention!  Detecting and treating early cell changes has proven hugely effective in preventing cervical cancer.

    When should you get a pap smear? In Australia, anyone with a cervix who has ever had vaginal sex AND is 18-69 years old should have this test done every two years. It only takes a few minutes and is usually done with a GP but can also been done at a Family Planning Clinic or women's health centre

       
  • NickiPowerNickiPower Posts: 423 Rock Star
    @Nurse_Nettie Do you still have to have one every two years if you've had the Gardasil vaccination? 
  • Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie Posts: 319 Mod Squad
    edited July 2016
    @NickiPower good question! Even if you've had the HPV vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix) it's still important to keep up with your pap smears.

    The HPV vaccine protects against the two most common types of HPV that can cause cancer, but not every type! A pap smear every two years is still the best way to prevent cervical cancer. 
  • mak_trouble891mak_trouble891 Posts: 563 Mod Squad
    @Nurse_Nettie what if you are under 18 and have had sex, do you need to have one? And what if you are over 18 and have never had sex?
  • Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie Posts: 319 Mod Squad
    @mak_trouble891 You need to be BOTH over 18 and have had vaginal sex one or more times. So...under 18 and sexually active? wait till you're 18 for your first pap.  Over 18 and never had sex? no need for a pap until you become sexually active. 
  • CuriosityCuriosity Posts: 197 Mod Squad
    Over in America, they recommend getting a pap smear every year. I can barely remember every two years!
  • KitKit Posts: 403 Rock Star
    Omg I am so thankful for my on-the-ball doctor – I am now in some trial so that I have a pap test less often! And they now have something in place so they'll hunt me down when it's time. Yay!
    I only ever used to remember if I was sent something but that's so hard when you move house.
  • NickiPowerNickiPower Posts: 423 Rock Star
    Wow that's crazy @Curiosity! I couldn't imagine every year! What is it @kit? Is it every 5 years? 
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    Anything else think the word Pap Smear is kinda off-putting?
  • Aunt_FloAunt_Flo Posts: 491 Mod Squad
    I'd never really thought of it before, but the 'smear' part in particular is a little shudder-worthy, @ElleBelle. What alternative would you suggest? Cervical screening?
  • KitKit Posts: 403 Rock Star
    @NickiPower Sadly I didn't get to be one of the lucky ones that got 5 years but at least I got an extra 6months added (2.5yrs) for participating. Yay for medical research trials.

    @ElleBelle @Aunt_Flo Isn't that why all the official language switched to Pap test? Although I've just noticed the Cancer Council still use smear but all the screening services changed a few years ago, I thought.
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    It's definitely the smear part. I think it's just one of those words (like my most hated word,"moist") that is unjustifiably cringeworthy. Pap test or cervical screening sound better. What doe the Pap part mean anyway, was it a person? @Nurse_Nettie do you know?
  • Aunt_FloAunt_Flo Posts: 491 Mod Squad
    @Kit I paid an extra $20 to have the same, less frequent, more accurate screen. It's coming on medicare now. :)
  • Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie Posts: 319 Mod Squad
    @ElleBelle Yes! the "Pap" in Pap Test is short for Papanicolaou, named for Georgios Papnicolaou, the Greek doctor who invented the procedure.   
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    Wow, that's good to know! Imagine asking for a Papanicolaou Test :)
  • KitKit Posts: 403 Rock Star
    @Aunt_Flo Oh wow, so was it like an option for you in a clinic? That sounds good to have choice.
  • Aunt_FloAunt_Flo Posts: 491 Mod Squad
    @Kit yeah! The gyn mentioned it was an up and coming technique that they could do while also performing the normal screening. 
  • MsBlueStreakMsBlueStreak Posts: 475 Rock Star
    This from the federal government's Cancer Screening website: 
    http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/content/future-changes-cervical

    The new test will become standard and covered by Medicare from 1 May next year.
  • KitKit Posts: 403 Rock Star
    ^^ Haha I love that idea of an 'exit test'. Does it make anyone else laugh? Or is it just me comparing it to exit interviews and therefore jobs.....
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    I'm a bit confused by the new testing. Are they only testing for HPV now? Is there a danger that it will miss cervical cancer caused by other things?
  • Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie Posts: 319 Mod Squad
    edited December 2016
    Hi @ElleBelle, new science & technology is often confusing! Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by persisting 'high risk' types of HPV infection. These are types of HPV that we know are likely to cause cancerous changes (there're many types of HPV that are harmless too). Performing the current pap test alone unfortunately is not accurate enough to identify these particular high risk types of HPV and women may require more investigations if HPV infection continues. The new testing methods are more accurate and will provide more detail. It's important to know that any unusual signs of vaginal bleeding or pain should always be investigated too.
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    Thats good to know. Thanks @Nurse_Nettie!
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