Pap Smear Screening in Singapore

Are you due for a pap smear test? Learn when to schedule this simple yet essential test for cervical cancer and HPV screening, how it’s conducted, and what the results mean. Arm yourself with the knowledge to ensure timely and informed healthcare decisions.

What is a Pap smear, and what is its purpose?

A Pap smear is a medical test that screens women for cervical cancer, an essential step in preventive healthcare. The Pap test is done to collect cells from the cervix, which is the end of the uterus at the top of the vagina. It is conducted alongside a pelvic exam and may include testing for human papillomavirus (HPV), an infection known to cause cervical cancer. 

Catching cervical cancer in its early stages with a Pap smear significantly enhances the chances of a cure. It can also identify changes in cervical cells that might indicate a future risk of developing cancer.

How is a Pap smear performed?

A Pap smear and pelvic exam are typically performed in a doctor’s office. The procedure usually only takes a few minutes.

  1. You will be asked to lie on your back on an exam table with your knees bent and your heels resting on supports called stirrups. The doctor will then gently insert a speculum into your vagina to hold the walls apart, allowing them to see the cervix. This action may cause a sensation of pressure but typically does not cause pain.
  2. Subsequently, the doctor will use a soft brush and a spatula to ensure adequate cell sample collection. These samples are sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination to look for cell characteristics that indicate cancer, a pre-cancerous condition, and normal cervical cells.
  3. The doctor will inform you about when to expect the results.

At what age should women start getting Pap smears?

The recommended age to start pap smear screening is 21. Undergoing a Pap test at a young age will facilitate early detection of cervical cancer, thereby significantly increasing the chances of successful treatment.

If the Pap test result is normal, doctors may advise that the next Pap test can wait three years. Regular screenings are crucial in detecting abnormalities early, enhancing the chances of successful treatment.

How often should pap smears be performed?

It’s generally recommended that women in their 20s get a Pap smear every three years. For women in their 30s and beyond, it’s advised to get a Pap smear combined with HPV testing every five years, as HPV infection becomes a risk factor for cervical cancer in women over 30.

These are general guidelines, and individual recommendations may vary. For instance, women in their 60s and beyond should continue to get Pap smears according to their doctor’s advice.

How should you prepare for a Pap smear test?

Adequate preparation for a Pap smear can contribute to more accurate results. Avoid scheduling a Pap smear on your menstrual period to achieve accurate results. Menstrual blood can affect the accuracy of the results.

You should also avoid sexual activity, douching, or using any vaginal lubricants or spermicidal solutions. These activities and products can remove or obscure abnormal cells.

On the day before your Pap test, you should also refrain from sexual intercourse, which can cause inflammation of the tissue and may lead to inaccurate test results. Following these guidelines can help ensure the most accurate Pap smear results.

Pap smear test in cervical cancer screening

Regular cervical cancer screening with a Pap test can reduce mortality from cervical cancer. The benefits of screening are particularly significant for women aged 21 to 65. The combination of a Pap smear and an HPV DNA test, known as cotesting, is more sensitive in detecting cervical abnormalities compared to the Pap test alone.

An abnormal Pap test result does not always mean cancer; it may show inflammation, minor cell changes, or HPV infection, which requires further investigation. If abnormal cells are found, further tests such as a colposcopy or biopsy may be ordered to determine if the cells are pre-cancerous or cancerous.

Can Pap smears detect other gynaecological conditions besides cervical cancer?

Though the primary function of a Pap smear is to screen for cervical cancer, it can also identify other gynaecological conditions. For instance, Pap smears can help find inflammation in the cervix and vagina. They can detect infections within the cervical cells, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes or trichomoniasis. 

Moreover, the test can reveal bacterial or yeast infections within the cervical cells.

Abnormal Pap smear results may signal pre-cancerous changes known as cervical dysplasia, which sometimes resolve without intervention. Regardless, any abnormality detected warrants further investigation to ensure optimal health.

How much is the cost of a pap smear test in Singapore?

Healthcare is an investment in your well-being, and comprehending the costs of procedures such as Pap smears holds significance. In Singapore, the cost of a Pap smear test can start from $25, depending on the medical facility and whether additional diagnostic tests are included.

Contact our specialist clinics for the exact cost and pricing of pap smear screenings done at their clinic.   

Pap smear screening in Singapore

Pap smear screening is instrumental in the early detection and prevention of cervical cancer, offering women a proactive approach to safeguarding their health. At SWC Medical Group, we believe in the importance of preventive healthcare.

We offer comprehensive women’s health screenings, including Pap smear tests to support this. Our packages are designed to thoroughly check your health, detecting any potential issues early. We take pride in our patient-centric approach, making sure you understand the procedure, the results, and any necessary next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pap smears are generally not painful, but some women may experience slight discomfort or pressure during the procedure.

Pap smears are generally safe during pregnancy, especially if you are due for routine screening or have specific concerns about cervical health. Your healthcare provider may perform the Pap smear during a prenatal visit or recommend it as part of your regular prenatal care.

The time it takes to receive Pap smear results can vary depending on the laboratory’s processing times and other factors. Typically, results are available within one to two weeks. Your doctor will inform you of the expected timeframe and discuss the next steps once the results are received.

If you had a total hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus and cervix, you typically do not need a Pap smear unless the hysterectomy was performed due to cervical cancer or precancerous cervical conditions. 

If you had a subtotal or partial hysterectomy, where the cervix was left intact, you may still need regular Pap smears as part of routine cervical cancer screening.

If your Pap smear results are abnormal, your doctor will discuss it with you and recommend further evaluation. It may include additional testing, such as colposcopy or HPV testing, to assess the extent of abnormalities and guide treatment decisions.

Our Specialists

At Singapore Women’s & Children’s Medical Group, our specialists and clinics are well-equipped and experienced to conduct pap smear screenings and testing. Our dedicated team of specialists offers compassionate care in women’s health, ensuring thorough, comprehensive screenings and accurate tests to safeguard your well-being.

Dr Ben Choey Wei Yen

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Chang Tou Choong

Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Maternal Fetal Medicine

Dr Chua Kah Mui Eunice

Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fertility

Dr Geraldine Tan Pei Lin

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Koh Cheng Huat

Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Gynae-oncology

Dr Loke Kah Leong

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Paul Tseng Seng Loke

Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fertility, Urogynaecology

Dr Phua Soo Mear

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Serene Lim

Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fertility 

Dr Shilla Mariah Yussof

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Tan Guek Cheng Madeleine

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Dr Tan Wee Khin

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

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Singapore Women's & Children's
Medical Group?

Full spectrum of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and tertiary Paediatric services

SWC Medical Group offers a complete range of services covering all aspects of obstetrics, gynaecology, and tertiary paediatric care. We provide a seamless continuum of care for mothers and their newborns.

Team of experienced medical specialists

Our Obstetrics, Gynaecology, and Paediatric specialists are experienced in diverse sub-specialties. Our comprehensive expertise lets us personalise and support your pregnancy journey.

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The dedicated management team at SWC Medical Group is committed to providing patients with a smooth and efficient experience. Our directors and management team actively oversee our medical clinics’ operations, promptly addressing the needs of our patients and making informed decisions swiftly.