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Papanicolaou Smear - PAP SMEAR

The cervicovaginal smear, or PAP smear, named after its developer, Dr. George Papanicolaou, can detect the presence of a premalignant lesion allowing for the prevention of cancer. Routine screening with cervical smears should be carried out at 5-year intervals. Samples should be taken more often (at least annually; or, in specific cases, even more frequently) from symptomatic women and from those in high risk groups, e.g. with a history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. In spite of the best collection, specimen handling, and screening procedures, there will still be a false negative (missed lesion) rate of at least 4%. Up to two-thirds of false negative PAP smear reports result from factors related to the collection procedure. However, the natural history of cervical dysplasias and carcinomas is such that there is a long time interval (years) from dysplasia to invasive carcinoma. If yearly screening is performed, then the chance of a lesion being missed is very low.


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