Is the Pap screening 100% reliable?

Even if the sample collection and interpretation of the results were performed carefully, the regular Pap test has its limitations. With the current techniques, it is not possible to detect all cases that would require treatment. On the other hand, detected abnormal cells can also include benign cases where the tissue is renewing itself (including metaplasia and regeneration). These do not require treatment. Therefore, also women who are a not at risk of developing cervical cancer may be invited for further examinations.

Thus the Pap test is not 100% reliable. Even though the Pap test has its limitations, the number of new cancer cases has been efficiently reduced to a fifth of what the number was in the beginning of the 1960’s with organised screenings in Finland. Population screenings have a protective effect only if a large number of the people invited participate in them.  Therefore, you should participate in the screening even if you recently had a Pap test taken elsewhere.