A Pap smear, or Pap test, is a cervical screening procedure that aims to detect cancerous or pre-cancerous processes in your cervix by collecting cells and placing it under a microscope to look for possible abnormalities. By promptly detecting cancerous cells in your cervix through a Pap test, you have a greater chance at being successfully treated for cervical cancer. Doctors advise women aged 18 to 21 to get a Pap test every two to three years. On the other hand, women aged 30 and above are advised to have it every three to five years.
Physicians may also require a more frequent Pap smear if you have been exposed to diethylstilbestrol before birth, are living with HIV, have a weak immune system, are diagnosed with cervical cancer, or have precancerous cells in your cervix.