Why should I have the test?

The Pap test results are used to detect pre-cancerous tissue abnormalities, and treatment can be used to stop them from turning into an actual cancer. Pre-cancerous abnormalities and early stages of cancer are quite common in all countries, including Finland. These changes are common in the youngest screened age groups. Approximately one woman in ten thousand screened women is diagnosed with cancer, and five women in thousand are diagnosed with a pre-cancerous abnormality or an early stage that requires treatment.


Majority of the diagnosed abnormalities are due to HPV infection (Human Papillomavirus, common warts, genital warts). It is a common infection which usually heals on its own. Pap test is used to find cases where healing is delayed and local treatment is necessary. Pap test can also help to detect other infections that require local treatment.


The sample is taken by trained nurses. The sample is taken from the vagina, the uterine orifice, and the cervix. The test is recommended also for women who have had a hysterectomy. The Pap test can be taken during pregnancy (up to the week 35+0 if the uterine orifice is not open) After childbirth the test can be taken once menstruation has started again or about six months after giving birth. It is not recommended to take the test during menstruation (heavy bleeding). The examination is free of charge.​