Pelvic Exam – Cervical Cancer Screening

Your doctor will check for any abnormalities in your reproductive organs and will carry out a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer.


Cervical cancer is one of the most common, most preventable and most curable female cancers, especially when detected early. This is also an opportunity to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any pelvic pain, discomfort, or other symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.


You do not need to do anything special to prepare for the pelvic exam. The exam will only take a few minutes. You’ll be asked to change into a gown and the doctor will carry out the physical exam. Your doctor will tell you exactly what they will do so that nothing comes as a surprise to you.

Cells are collected from the cervix using a specially designed brush, and are tested for the presence of abnormal cells. Cervical cancer is often caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), and HPV testing is often done using the same specimen. Testing frequency varies by age. For most women a three year screening frequency is recommended.  No screening is necessary for women who have had a hysterectomy, or who are 65 years or older, or if prior adequate screening results have been negative. Although vaccination is now available to prevent HPV infection, the same age-specific recommendations for screening are followed both for vaccinated and unvaccinated women.

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