Pap Smear Can Effectively Prevent Cervical Cancer

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Pap Smear, also known as Cervical Smear, is currently the most effective screening test for cervical cancer.  It is a simple and quick test to detect abnormal cervical cells. This article analyses the procedures and preparation of Pap smear examination. Furthermore, we also address some frequently asked questions about the test e.g. how much does Pap smear cost? Is it normal to feel pain during the examination?  At last, we include a comparison table of different gynaecological examination plans from major medical clinics in Hong Kong. It is a priority for all ladies to schedule your regular Pap smear checkups to prevent cervical cancer.



Pap Smear Price/Cervical Smear Price

Pap Smear, which also referred as Papanicolaou test/ Cervical Smear, is a simple test that can detect early stage of abnormal changes in cervical cells. If abnormalities are found, doctors can take appropriate treatment to prevent these abnormal cells from further developing into aggressive cervical cancer. Data have shown that regular Pap smear tests can prevent more than 90% of cervical cancer.

 

Generally, women seldom just perform one Pap smear test, instead they will do it along with their annual gynaecological examination. Therefore, in this article, we cover a number of gynaecological examination plans from different clinics. When planning for your Pap smear, you may take into consideration some more comprehensive examination packages.

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Featured Cervical Cancer-relevant Checkup Package(A)

 

Download Package Details /Download Package Leaflet 1 /Download Package Leaflet 2

 

 

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  Annual Female
Health Check(Excel Plan)
Women Health
Check for Age Below 40
Women Premium
Health Check Plan
Women Supreme
Health Check Plan
 
Clinic Mobile Medical and Health Check Centre Limited Hong Kong
Well Women Centre
re: HEALTH Human Health
Associate Limited
Price HK$2,390 HK$5,000 HK$3,720 HK$2,980
No. of
Checkup Items
72 71 9 59
Cervical Cancer -
relevant Examination
Conventional Pap Smear (can upgrade to BDSurePath Liquid Based Pap Smear by paying extra HK$141) Pap Smear
(Liquid-based cytology)
Pap Smear ThinPrep Pap Test
Other Gynaecological Checkup Items

3 ultrasound examinations:

  • Ultrasound Pelvis
  • Ultrasound Breast
  • Bone Densitometry by ultrasound

3 ultrasound examinations:

  • Ultrasound Breast
  • Axilla Ultrasound
  • Pelvis Ultrasound

2 ultrasound examinations:

  • Ultrasound Pelvis
  • Ultrasound Breats
1 ultrasound examination: Ultrasound breasts/ Ultrasound Pelvis
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Featured Cervical Cancer-relevant Checkup Package(B)

 

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  Integrated Female
Health Check Plan
Women
Health Check Plan
Gynecological Disease
& Check-up - Detail
ESD Female Health Assessment Package
- By General Practitioner
 
Clinic Hong Kong Health Check &
Medical Diagnostic Centre
Medtimes
Medical Group
Kinetics Medical &
Health Group Co., Ltd.
Adventist
Medical Center
Price HK$1,580 HK$1,980 HK$2,180 HK$2,200
No. of
Checkup Items
29 16 64 29
Cervical Cancer -
relevant Examination
Conventional Pap Smear ThinPrep Pap Test ThinPrep Pap Test Pap Smear
Other Gynaecological Checkup Items Resting ECG

Ultrasound Breasts (Bilateral) 

Bone Density Screening Resting ECG
Location Jordan, Causeway bay,
Central, Yuen Long
Tsim Sha Tsui,
Sheung Shui
Causeway bay, Jordan,
Tsuen Wan
Causeway bay
Purchase Now

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Pap Smear Procedures

The Pap smear inspection process can be divided into the following 4 steps:

  1. The doctor or nurse will put a speculum into the vagina so that the cervix located deep in the vagina can be clearly seen
  2. The doctor will use a wooden or glued Ayre’sspatula or a plastic brush to take some cell samples on the surface of the cervix through a speculum
  3. The cell sample will be smeared on a glass sheet and fixed with spray to prevent air-drying, or transferred to a bottle of liquid for storage
  4. The doctor or nurse will complete the examination by taking out the speculum

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Pap Smear FAQ

Q1: Do Pap smear tests hurt?

A: You should not feel pain during the examination if you stay relaxed.

If you feel pain during the Pap smear test, it may be because:

  • When you are nervous, it creates a lot of tension that cause the vaginal muscles to contract, which tightens the speculum
  • The cold surface of the speculum may causes discomfort

Try to relax as much as possible and breathe slowly and deeply to relieve the discomfort or pain.

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Q2: Is the bleeding normal after the cervical examination?

A: It is normal to see a small amount of bleeding in the vagina one or two days after the cervical smear examination, however, if the bleeding continues to happen, or gets worse, 4 days after the examination, it is recommended to consult medical advice as soon as possible.

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Q3: I never had sex. Do I have to do Pap smear test?

A: If you do not have sex, it is not recommended to perform Pap smear test.

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Q4: Should I have Pap smear test during pregnancy?

A: Unless the doctor suspects that there is a high degree of cervical lesions (abnormalities in the cervix cells), in most cases, pregnant women should not have Pap smear because it may cause bloodshot during the examination that will result in situation like miscarriage.

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Q5: I had HPV injection. Do I still have to do Pap smear test?

A: UAlthough the cervical cancer vaccine can prevent high-risk cancer-causing HPV virus, it does not provide a comprehensive protection. Therefore, do not assume that regular Pap smear is not necessary after HPV vaccine injection.

 

Women who have both regular Pap smears and HPV vaccination, share a lower risk of cervical cancer. Although this article focuses mostly on the importance of Pap smears, HPV vaccine is also very important in preventing cervix cancer as it goes hand in hand with Pap smears.

 

Click here to learn more about HPV Vaccine Information

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Q6: What do the Pap smear test results indicate?

 

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Test Results

Results Indications

Negative or Normal

No abnormalities found, no effects on long-term health, do not require follow-up

Positive or Abnormal

Some cells in the cervix have begun to change and follow-up examination is required but it does not mean that you have cervical caner

 

However, it should be noted that the Pap smear test is not 100% accurate. A number of studies have shown that the test results may have an error probability of 5% to 20%. The test result can be abnormal but mistaken for normal i.e. false negative or vice versa, resulted in false positive. Even if the most current test result was negative or normal, it is strongly advised to still undergo regular smear test.

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What to note before a Pap Smear Test?

It is not advised to undergo Pap smear if you have experienced or performed the following activities within 48 hours before the test

  • Menstruation
  • Vaginal sex
  • Use vaginal suppositories or spermicides
  • Douche the vagina
  • Diagnosed with other vaginal diseases, such as vaginitis

The above conditions will affect the quality of cervical cell samples and hinder the examination.

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How often should I do a Pap Smear examination?

Data have shown that regular checkups can prevent more than 90% of cervical cancers. Even with HPV vaccination and negative or normal test results, women should still undergo regular smear tests.

 

It is advised that women aged 25 or above who have had sexual intercourse, should take the Pap smear tests consecutively in the first 2 years. If the results come out normal, then they can be tested again after 3 years until they are 65 years old.

 

If you are 65 years old or older and have had sexual intercourse but never received a cervical cancer screening, then you should consult your doctor for screening even if you have experienced menopause, have not had sex for many years, or have undergone ligation.

 

There are many factors that cause cervical cancer. Thus, it is recommended for women who smoke, suffer from other venereal diseases (such as chlamydia and herpes), take contraceptives for a long time, or have a weak immune system to subscribe to regular check up every year.

 

In addition, if a woman finds the following signs, there is a chance that the abnormal cells have evolved into cervical cancer, so it is recommended to get an examination as soon as possible:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as between menstrual periods or after sexual intercourse
  • Unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Read more, click below for more information

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Pap Smear Testing Methods: What is the difference between [Conventional Pap Smear] and [New Pap Smear]?

Pap smear was invented by Dr. George Papanicolaou in the 1920s. His testing method has gone through almost 100 years of evolution and the testing procedures did not change much. However, breakthroughs have been made in cervical cancer examination technology, and two sets of smears have been developed, they are:

 

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Pap Smear
Testing Method
Conventional Smear Liquid-based Cytology/ThinPrep Pap Test

Processing Cell Sample Procedures

Smear cells directly onto the glass slide

First mix the cells into the chemical solution, then use the computer to make a smear

Pros

  • Fast and simple
  • Low cost
  • Remove blood, mucus and inflammatory cells that helps facilitate microscopy
  • More than 90% of the cells in the sample are preserved, which will not cause waste, and there is no need to request for re-sampling if necessary
  • Reduce human diagnosis errors
  • The same cell sample can be used for HPV infection test

Cons

  • Cells may thicken and overlapped
  • Cell may be unevenly distributed
  • Only about 20% of the harvested cells were smeared on the glass slide, and the remaining 80% were discarded with the inspection tools

High cost

 

Compared with conventional smears, the benefit of Liquid-Based Cytology/ThinPrep Pap Test is that it avoids cell from drying and it greatly reduces human diagnosis errors. Even though the cost is higher, it is strongly encouraged for women to take the new Pap smear test.

 

Cervical cancer may seem terrible but truth is women can effectively prevent cervical cancer as long as they undergo regular Pap smear tests. Even if signs of precancerous lesions (abnormalities) are discovered during the examination, they can still be treated early. Precaution is always better than cure so ACT NOW!

 

Purchase Pap Smear Checkup Package here

 

Source: HKSAR Department of Health (Cervical Screening Programme) , The JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK

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