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  • #106278
    mak_trouble891
    Participant
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    What  is a pap smear? And when do you have to start having one?

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    #108896
    Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie
    Keymaster
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    @mak_trouble891 A pap smear is a kind of test that looks for abnormal cell changes on the cervix. Human papillomavirus or HPV is almost always the cause of these abnormal cells and, if left untreated, they have the potential to become cancer. But don’t let the C-word scare you off! A pap smear is about cancer prevention!  Detecting and treating early cell changes has proven hugely effective in preventing cervical cancer.

    When should you get a pap smear? In Australia, anyone with a cervix who has ever had vaginal sex AND is 18-69 years old should have this test done every two years. It only takes a few minutes and is usually done with a GP but can also been done at a Family Planning Clinic or women’s health centre

       

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    #108897
    NickiPower
    Participant
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    @Nurse_Nettie Do you still have to have one every two years if you’ve had the Gardasil vaccination? 

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    #108898
    Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie
    Keymaster
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    @NickiPower good question! Even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix) it’s still important to keep up with your pap smears.

    The HPV vaccine protects against the two most common types of HPV that can cause cancer, but not every type! A pap smear every two years is still the best way to prevent cervical cancer. 

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    #108899
    mak_trouble891
    Participant
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    @Nurse_Nettie what if you are under 18 and have had sex, do you need to have one? And what if you are over 18 and have never had sex?
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    #108900
    Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie
    Keymaster
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    @mak_trouble891 You need to be BOTH over 18 and have had vaginal sex one or more times. So…under 18 and sexually active? wait till you’re 18 for your first pap.  Over 18 and never had sex? no need for a pap until you become sexually active. 

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    #108901
    Curiosity
    Participant
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    Over in America, they recommend getting a pap smear every year. I can barely remember every two years!

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    #108902
    Kit
    Participant
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    Omg I am so thankful for my on-the-ball doctor – I am now in some trial so that I have a pap test less often! And they now have something in place so they’ll hunt me down when it’s time. Yay!
    I only ever used to remember if I was sent something but that’s so hard when you move house.

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    #108903
    NickiPower
    Participant
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    Wow that’s crazy @Curiosity! I couldn’t imagine every year! What is it @kit? Is it every 5 years? 

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    #108904
    ElleBelle
    Participant
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    Anything else think the word Pap Smear is kinda off-putting?

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    #108905
    Aunt_FloAunt_Flo
    Moderator
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    I’d never really thought of it before, but the ‘smear’ part in particular is a little shudder-worthy, @ElleBelle. What alternative would you suggest? Cervical screening?

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    #108906
    Kit
    Participant
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    @NickiPower Sadly I didn’t get to be one of the lucky ones that got 5 years but at least I got an extra 6months added (2.5yrs) for participating. Yay for medical research trials.

    @ElleBelle @Aunt_Flo Isn’t that why all the official language switched to Pap test? Although I’ve just noticed the Cancer Council still use smear but all the screening services changed a few years ago, I thought.

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    #108907
    ElleBelle
    Participant
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    It’s definitely the smear part. I think it’s just one of those words (like my most hated word,”moist”) that is unjustifiably cringeworthy. Pap test or cervical screening sound better. What doe the Pap part mean anyway, was it a person? @Nurse_Nettie do you know?

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    #108908
    Aunt_FloAunt_Flo
    Moderator
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    @Kit I paid an extra $20 to have the same, less frequent, more accurate screen. It’s coming on medicare now. 🙂

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    #108909
    Nurse_NettieNurse_Nettie
    Keymaster
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    @ElleBelle Yes! the “Pap” in Pap Test is short for Papanicolaou, named for Georgios Papnicolaou, the Greek doctor who invented the procedure.   

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