As with any procedure, there are benefits and risks; you might think of these as pros and cons. It’s important to be aware of them before having any test so that you can make an informed decision.
While no screening test is 100% accurate, scientific evidence shows that having regular Pap tests lowers your risk of dying from cervical cancer.
Benefits of getting a Pap test
- Regular Pap tests check for cervical cell changes, which can be followed closely to make sure they clear up.
90% of cervical cancer can be prevented with early treatment.
- If abnormal cells are found, they can be treated early, which may mean less treatment and less time spent recovering.
- The earlier cervical cancer is found, the better your chance of survival.
Risks of getting a Pap test
Pap tests are generally very safe. However, as with any procedure, there are some risks.
- There’s a chance the Pap test can miss abnormal cell changes, even when they are present (false negative).
- There’s a chance the Pap test can suggest abnormal cell changes, even when there are none (false positive).
- When abnormal cell changes are found, some women may receive more tests or treatment when the cell changes may never have developed into cancer.
Given how important it is to find cancer early, the benefits of having a Pap test outweigh the risks. However, it’s your decision. It’s always best to speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the benefits and risks of Pap tests.