• A weakened immune system, possibly from chemotherapy, organ transplant or chronic corticosteroid use.
• Exposure to diethylstilbestrol, often called DES before birth.
The Pap test is considered to be one of the most successful screening tools for detecting cancer. But the test is not 100-percent accurate. The ACS offers these suggestions to help make sure your Pap smear is as accurate as possible:
• Don’t have your Pap smear during your period. If at all possible, schedule your exam for at least five days after your period should be over.
• Don’t put any products into your vagina for two to three days before your test. This includes tampons, birth control foam or jelly, vaginal creams, moisturizers, lubricants or vaginal medications.
• Don’t use douche for two to three days before the test.
• Don’t have sexual intercourse for two days before the test.
If you have questions about cervical cancer or about your Pap smear or HPV test results, talk to your health care provider.
The New York Times. Ask Well: Do Monogamous Women Still Need a Pap Smear? Tara Parker-Pope. Web. January 6, 2016.
Mayo Clinic. Pap smear. Web. January 6, 2016.
American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. Web. January 6, 2016.
American Cancer Society. The Pap (Papanicolaou) test. Web. January 6, 2016.
Reviewed January 7, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith