Health-Related Issues -- Pap Smears

Pap smears are recommended to detect for abnormal cells in the cervix that could develop into cancer. Pap smears should start at age 18 or younger if a woman is sexually active. Pap smears should be done regularly to detect abnormal cells during the early stages. Abnormal pap smears may be caused by infections or inflammation of the cervix. Many times abnormal cells will subside with treatment of infection, and sometimes without any treatment.

Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer:

  • HPV (genital warts) or HIV infection
  • Sexual activity before age 18
  • Multiple sex partners in the past or present
  • Sexual partner who has had multiple sex partners
  • Smoking
  • Long term use of oral contraceptives
  • Previous abnormal pap smear