In Singapore, cervical cancer is one of the top ten cancers among women. Cervical cancer is highly preventable and curable when detected and treated early.
If you are over 25 years old, and have engaged in sexual intercourse, it is recommended that you have a Pap smear. If you have not been screened in the past three years, you should be screened as well.
During a Pap smear, your doctor will gently scrape some cells from the surface of your cervix (neck of the womb), and send them to the laboratory. The Pap smear can detect abnormal cells in the cervix.
Preparing for Your Pap Smear
If you are still menstruating, you should have your Pap smear two weeks after the start of your menstrual period, or up to about a week before your next menstrual period starts.
This is the ideal time to have a Pap smear as the cervical cells obtained are the clearest and cleanest sample.
If you have reached menopause, you may schedule a Pap smear at any time.
You should avoid the following activities 48 hours before your Pap smear:
- Taking a tub bath
- Having sexual intercourse
Avoid using the following products as well:
- Vaginal creams
- Vaginal medications
These activities or products can irritate the cervix. Avoiding these activities or using these products will help ensure adequate cell sample collection. Other factors that may affect Pap smear results include infection to your cervix / vagina and consuming certain medications. If you are currently taking any medication, please consult your doctor beforehand.
On the day of your Pap smear, please wear a two-piece outfit. You may want to bring along a panty liner or a thin sanitary pad as light bleeding or spotting may occur after a Pap smear.