1. Health

Can a Pap smear tell if you have cancer?


Updated November 26, 2005

Question: Can a Pap smear tell if you have cancer?
Answer: Yes, a Pap smear can detect cancer. It also can tell of the most very minor changes in cellular activity. The sample of tissue taken during the pap smear is examined by trained pathologists that look for cancer, precancerous conditions and any abnormalities. The findings are then released to your physician.

Keep in mind that most abnormalities found are usually not cancerous. Cervical cancer is normally a slow moving disease taking years to develop into cancer. This is why it is essential for women to have a Pap smear done regularly.

More About Pap Smears

The Pap Smear: What to Expect During a Pap Smear
Understanding Pap Smear Results: Normal and Abnormal
How Often Women Should Have Pap Smears

Created 11/25/2005
Related Video
What to Expect From a Gynecological Exam
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Cancer
  4. Types of Cancer A-M
  5. Cervical Cancer
  6. Can a Pap Smear Detect Cancer?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.