A Pap test (sometimes called a Pap smear) is a way to examine cells collected from fluid around the cervix, or the opening of the womb (located at the top of the vagina). The test is to look for the presence of infection, inflammation, abnormal cells, precancerous changes or cancer. Pelvic exam, along with a pap test, is an important part of a woman’s routine health care because it may detect abnormalities that can lead to invasive cancer.

As a woman, you should always consult with your doctor about when and how often a Pap test and pelvic examination should be performed.