“A Pap smear is an invasive screening test that helps detect cervical cancer as well as HPV. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2020, there will be about 13,800 new cases of cervical cancer and about 4290 deaths as a result of cervical cancer. While Pap smears appear scary, they can be life-saving. Cervical cancer was the leading cancer death amongst people in the US but, thanks to the Pap smear, it is now #14.
Cervical cancer tends to be more common amongst Hispanic and Black populations. In 2017 the CDC found that for every 100,000 cervical cancer cases the rate of incidence of new cervical cancer was 8.9 for Hispanic and 8.3 for Black populations, while 7.3 for White, 6.6 for American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 6.0 for Asian/Pacific Islander populations.
Most doctors use a speculum with a light and a broom to collect the sample. The broom is used to collect cells from your cervix. You will feel the broom, but it should not be painful. If it is painful, please let your provider know! The sample is then placed in a vial and sent to the lab.”