The Pap test has changed over the years. A Pap smear is used primarily for cervical cancer cells. New tests can be used to detect other conditions, as well. For the Pap test, your provider takes a sample of cervical cells and sends them to a lab for testing. The Pap test sample is used to test for the presence of any abnormal cells.
Your first Pap test should be scheduled when you are 21 years of age. Because every patient is different, talk with your provider about scheduling your next Pap test. It is important to remember that even if your Pap test is not required yearly, your well-woman exam should be scheduled yearly.
You can learn more when you visit The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.