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The Pap Test: Questions and Answers


Description

This fact sheet addresses the importance of a Pap test and pelvic exam.

This fact sheet provides answers to the following questions on Pap tests and pelvic exams:

  • What is a Pap test?
  • What is a pelvic exam?
  • Why are a Pap test and pelvic exam important?
  • Who performs a Pap test?
  • How is a Pap test done?
  • How often should a woman have a Pap test?
  • When should the Pap test be done?
  • How are the results of a Pap test reported?
  • How common are Pap test abnormalities?
  • What do abnormal results mean?
  • What if Pap test results are abnormal?
  • How do terms for Pap test abnormalities compare, and which tests and treatment options may be appropriate?
  • How are human papillomaviruses (HPVs) associated with the development of cervical cancer?
  • Who is at risk for HPV infection?
  • Does infection with a cancer-associated type of HPV always lead to a precancerous condition or cancer?
  • Do women who have been vaccinated against HPVs still need to have Pap tests?
  • Have any studies been done to examine HPV testing and treatment options for mild Pap test abnormalities?
  • What are false positive and false negative results?
  • What methods are being developed to improve the accuracy of Pap tests?
Links to the Tool:
This tool is available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/Pap-test
The PDF version of this tool is available at: http://www.cancer.gov/images/Documents/6e8424db-12f5-4b8a-b160-e8d010fd6026/Fs5_16.pdf (If you don't have the software to open this PDF, download free Adobe Acrobat ReaderĀ® software External Web Site Policy.)

Developer

National Cancer Institute

Funding Sources

National Cancer Institute; National Institutes of Health


QualityTool Topic

asp:qt-topic-replace-me


History

  • Release Date: 02/2003
  • Review Date: 03/2007
  • Recent Summary: 04/2008
  • Original Summary: 02/2006
Disclaimer: The inclusion of a tool in the Innovations Exchange does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or Westat of the tool or of the submitter or developer of the tool. Read more.
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Last updated: April 11, 2008.