The cervical cancer or cancer of the uterus neck has a very strong physical and psychological impact on a woman; it irreversibly impairs her lifestyle and sexuality preventing it from becoming a mother and forcing her to undergo very invasive, challenging and painful therapies. There is a test called Pap test (Papanicolaou test) that allows the early diagnosis of carcinoma of the uterine cervix; its purpose is to identify, among women, all women potentially at risk.
HOW IS THE PAP TEST PERFORMED?
The diagnostic test called Pap test allows the physician to take cell samples from the surface of the uterine cervix, through spatulas and brushes, so it is completely painless. Sampling shall be performed by the midwife or gynecologist. Once removed, the cells are streaked out on a special slide and then are ubsequently analyzed by the Laboratory of Anatomy, Histology and Cytology, which has the task of drawing up the definitive diagnosis. In some rare cases after the examination, the patient might have a small blood loss, thai is a possible consequence that is not cause for concern. The Pap test should be performed away from menstruation, from any sexual intercourse and the use of eggs and glow. The best time is the one that goes from the tenth to the twenty-third day of the cycle. The examination can also be performed during pregnancy.
CAN THE PAP TEST BE IMPROVED?
To make the Pap test even more effective, today we use modern technologies that help to make the diagnostic validity of the test even more precise.
WHAT IS THE “THIN-PREP PAP-TEST"?
An even more sensitive method than the Pap test for cervical cancer screening is the Thi -Prep or the thin layer Pap Test.
This test is performed by taking the cells of the cervix, painlessly and with a methodology similar to that of the Pap Test. The difference consists in the fact that the cells taken by the doctor or midwife, are not streaked on the slide, but are suspended in a bottle containing preservative liquid. The bottle is then sent at a later time to the Pathological Anatomy Laboratory where the sample undergoes a treatment that eliminates interfering materials, or cells, bacteria and blood that do not serve for the purpose of the examination. The sample is then transferred onto a glass slide in a monolayer, or thin layer. As it is apparent from screening studies conducted on representative samples of women, this test is considered to be more reliable and accurate than the traditional Pap Test. It is also possible to perform further diagnostic using the same sample of cells.
Both the traditional Pap test anjd the Thin-Prep are means able to diagnose cervical cancer, but are not effective for the diagnosis of cancer of the ovary, endometrium and uterus.
WHICH ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE THIN-PREP PAP-TEST AND THE TRADITIONAL PAP TEST?
Compared to the traditional Pap Test, the cells are not immediately fixed on the slide, but kept in a special liquid; this to avoid that they are aggregated in a disorderly manner.
With this method, the doctor manages to maintain, unlike the Pap test, all the material taken, then being able to reuse it for any subsequent diagnostic investigations without the need for a new examination.
Once sent to the laboratory, the cells are separated from the interfering material, and then by any blood, mucus or bacteria. The sample, suitably prepared, is then transferred onto the slide free from superimposed layers of material.
ARE ANY EVIDENCES ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE THIN-PREP PAP TEST?
Based on a series of researches conducted on a representative sample of women, it emerges that the Thin Prep significantly improves the ability to identify any precancerous cells.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE RESULT OF THE PAP TEST IS NOT NEGATIVE?
The Pap test, being a prior examination, should be performed regularly. If the result is not negative, the patient will be asked, by letter of invitation, to perform additional testing depth with any prescription of appropriate therapy.
It is important to emphasize that the cervical cancer, if detected early, can be cured effectively. For this reason, the Thin Prep and the Pap test should be performed regularly responding to the invitations.