We use the Hologic Thin-Prep liquid-base cytology technique for cervical smear testing (PAP test). HPV DNA testing, which has become an essential adjunct to the PAP test can also be performed using the same sample, as can testing for other sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Testing for sexually transmitted diseases (7STD) can also be undertaken on the ThinPrep vial.
The cervical smear (Pap test) is a widely used screening test that can detect potentially precancerous and cancerous processes in the cervical canal of the female reproductive system.
Changes to the cervix can be treated effectively, and early detection of cervical cancer can save lives. The test may also detect infections and other abnormalities of the cervix and endometrium.
In taking a cervical smear, a speculum is used to open the vagina and allow the collection of cells from the cervix, the entrance to the uterus. The cells are collecting using a brush or spatula, processed in the laboratory and then examined under a microscope to look for abnormalities.
Cervical smear testing is most reliable when a satisfactory sample is obtained on a regular basis. These results must be interpreted in the context of previous results and the current clinical appearance of the cervix. If an abnormality is found in the smear test, and the pathologist recommends a further examination, the patient may be referred for more detailed inspection of the cervix by colposcopy.