Protect Your Health (Pap Smear)
Information for women over 30 on what pap smears are, and when and why they should be done.
What is a Pap Smear?
- A pap smear is a simple, quick vaginal examination to check if the cervix (the mouth of the womb) is healthy.
- A special instrument called a speculum is used to hold the vagina open so that the doctor or nurse can see the cervix.
- Some cells are gently wiped off the cervix and sent to a laboratory for testing.
- The results of this test will be sent to your clinic so remember to go back for your results.
Why Should I Go for a Pap Smear?
A pap smear detects abnormal cells that may later become Cancer of the Cervix.
What is Cancer of the Cervix?
- Cancer of the Cervix is one of the most common forms of cancer against women.
- Cancer of the Cervix if detected early can be treated and cured.
- All women are at risk of developing cancer of the cervix.
- The risk of developing Cancer of the Cervix increases as you get older.
- You are still at risk even if:
- you are not sexually active
- you are menopausal or have experienced menopause
- you no longer plan to have children
- you are sterilized
- you show no signs or symptoms.
When Should I Go for a Pap Smear?
- You should have a pap smear at least every ten years, starting in your thirties.
- You should have three FREE pap smears, one in your thirties, one in your forties and one in your fifties.
- These FREE pap smears are available at your nearest clinic or health center.
Your Health Rights
You are entitled:
- to three free pap smears in your lifetime, one every ten years, starting in your thirties.
- to be treated with dignity, respect and privacy when going for your pap smear.
- to ask your health provider to explain the procedure to you.
- You must take responsibility for your own health.
- You must go back for the results of your pap smear.
- You must go for any follow up treatment if advised to do so.
- You must give the correct contact details to the health service providers so that they can you if you need further treatment.
- Cervical Cancer Screening (Service)