#SmearforSmear: How a social media campaign from supermodel-actress Cara Delavigne raised awareness on cervical cancer and where you can get a pap smear in Singapore

Cervical Cancer Screening

You might have heard of pap smear or pap test but are not sure what it is or if you need it. If you’re a woman in your child-bearing years, then you need to get a pap smear. It is a routine procedure used to detect cervical cancer or pre-cancer cells in a woman’s cervix.

And even though pap smear has long been established and has saved millions of women’s lives worldwide with the early detection of cervical cancer, there is still a crippling stigma that looms over the test and cervical cancer in general. This is why supermodel-actress Cara Delavigne was prompted to start a social media campaign to break the stigma surrounding women’s health, particularly, cervical cancer and pap smear. With the #SmearforSmear campaign, the high profile celebrity posted on Instagram a selfie with smeared lipstick to urge women to book for a pap smear as soon as possible and get themselves tested. With her inspiring post, a lot of women have followed suit, raising awareness on pap smear and cervical cancer all over the world.

What is the cervix and what is its function in the body?

Female reproductive system

The cervix is a cylinder-shaped neck of tissue that connects the vagina to the uterus. It can be found at the lower part of the uterus and is primarily of fibromuscular tissue. It plays an important role in a woman’s body as it performs two major functions which are to:

(1) allow the natural flow of blood during period from the uterus and out into the vagina

(2) direct the sperms into the uterus during sex for proper fertilization

How is a Pap smear or pap test done?

A pap smear is done by scraping and collecting cells from the cervix. The samples will then be sent for analysis and used to determine if they have abnormal growth. A pap smear has been proven to be effective not only in detecting developed cervical cancer but also in detecting changes or abnormalities in the cervical cells that may show signs of cancerous growth. This test is recommended for all women starting in their early 20’s (especially if they are sexually active) as it does not only help with diagnosis but also serves as one of the primary precautionary measures toward cervical cancer.

Pap test

Negative result from a pap smear

If your result turned out negative, then it means that there’s no abnormal cell growth detected from your cervix. This is considered good news and you will not be required to undergo further diagnostic tests or screening. You are free to go. After a negative pap smear, it is recommended that you take another pap smear after about three years to monitor if there are changes or abnormalities in your cervical cells.

Abnormal or positive result from a pap smear

If you get an abnormal or positive pap smear result, do not be alarmed but listen to what your doctor has to say first. Having an abnormal result does not automatically mean that you have cancer. Typically, there are two possibilities why you got an abnormal result:

  1. Inflammation due to infection

While pap smear is mainly used to detect cervical cancer cells in the cervix, it can also detect several abnormalities like inflammation due to an infection from bacteria, fungi, and other foreign microorganisms. If this is the case, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, antifungal fungal drugs and other appropriate medication to address the issue. You will be closely monitored for improvements and after about 3-6 months, your doctor may require you to get another pap smear to determine if there is still inflammation or the medication has been effective. If inflammation is till detected after your second pap smear, then your doctor will perform further confirmatory tests and screenings.

  1. Cells that might be cancerous

This means that cells change so abnormally that the test indicates the cells to be cancerous. For your doctor to confirm cervical cancer, your doctor may refer you to undergo confirmatory tests colposcopy, a more detailed examination of the cervix that involves the use of a colposcope, a diagnostic instrument used to pinpoint the exact cause of inflammation and abnormalities. Your doctor may also require a biopsy or an HPV DNA test to determine the exact reason for an abnormal pap smear.

Where can I get a pap smear in Singapore?

  1. At your ob/gynae’s clinic

Given the established technique for cervical cancer screening, you can always get a pap smear in Singapore from your obstetrician gynaecologists clinic, just talk to your doctor and express your wish to get tested and he/she will help you.

  1. At polyclinics

You can also get subsidized pap smear services at polyclinics in Singapore and all you have to do is pay a visit to a local polyclinic near you and inquire about the prices for their services. If they’re good enough for you, then you set a schedule for a pap smear.

  1. At speciality clinics like DB clinic

Also, all over the country, there are also speciality clinics like DB Clinic that are devoted to improving the sexual and reproductive health of both men and women and help live a healthier and happier life. To know more about DB Clinic, you can call their clinic today at (+65) 6733 7122 and schedule for a pap smear to help you know and better understand your over-health. In addition to a pap smear, they also offer a wide range of screenings and treatments that are geared toward the improvement of quality of life. A simple screening that you decide to take today might save your life.

 

DB Medical: Women’s & Men’s Health Clinic
290 Orchard Rd, #14-10 Paragon Medical Centre,
Singapore 238859
+65 6733 7122

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