Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
Two tests are used to screen for cervical cancer – the Pap test and the HPV test.
Your cervix is the lower part of the uterus at the top of your vagina.
A Pap test is used to check your cervix for abnormal cells.
Abnormal cells can sometimes turn into cervical cancer if they aren’t treated.
In some cases, your cells may also be tested for infection from a virus called the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
HPV causes most cervical cancer as well as genital warts.
The collection of cells for both tests can be done during a pelvic exam.
First, your healthcare provider will place an instrument, called a speculum, into your vagina.
The speculum will be opened so that your cervix can be seen.
Next, your practitioner will use a scraper or brush to gently collect cells from your cervix.
Your cells will be examined under a microscope at a lab to see if any of them are abnormal.
The lab may also test your cells to see if they show signs of HPV infection.
It usually takes about one to three weeks to get your test results.
If you have questions about these tests or your test results, talk to your provider.