Requirements for Cervical Cytology in Colombia

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As for women’s health, it is important to carry out annual medical examinations and check-ups to confirm that everything is in order in our intimate area.

Cervical cancer turns out to be the leading cause of death in Colombian women, after breast cancer. 18.7 per 100,000 women have an incidence of cervical cancer according to studies conducted between 2007 and 2011 by the League Against Cancer in Colombia.

This is why we present you the requirements to perform a cervical cytology, a simple and quick test that will help you rule out possible abnormalities in your cervix.

Requirements to perform a Cytology

At the time of performing a cytology, certain characteristics must be taken into account in order to avoid failures or errors in relation to taking the exam and the results.

First, cervical cytology It is usually performed in women in the first three years of having initiated sexual intercourse, approximately from 21 years. This is because most of the pathological processes that develop in the cervix are related to the Human papilloma virus, which is contracted through sexual intercourse.

Therefore, it is not common to find abnormal results in virgin teens and for this reason this study is not usually performed. Nor is it necessary to do it in women who have suffered from hysterectomy for benign causes, that is, that the cause of the removal of the uterus does not incur the appearance of tumors. Once the organ is removed, there is no chance of finding cancer in the cervix.

Regarding the sample, considering that you are a sexually active woman and that she conserves the uterus, the cervical cytology must be taken in a period of time where the woman I am not menstruating or at least have allowed at least three days to pass after the bleeding has stopped.

Similarly, another indication is not having had sexual intercourse for at least three days before the test.

And finally, not having applied vaginal ova, douches or creams since these substances could intervene in the result of it.

What is a Cytology?

Cervical cytology or also called Papanicolau test is a test that It is used for the diagnosis of pathologies such as cervical cancer or precancerous lesions for the purpose of early treatment. Although this study does not prevent the presence of cancer, it is the resource available for its detection.

In most cases, cervical cancer is associated with an infection due to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is obtained sexually. The presence of this virus produces changes in the morphology and structures of the cells of the cervix which generates the possible transformation into malignant cells.

The neck of the uterus or cervix is ​​the lower and narrower part of the uterus, located at the end of the vagina than when suffering from morphological transformations caused by HPV mutate to cancer cells.

These cells, contrary to the benign ones, reproduce and do not die, giving way to the formation of tumors. Once the tumor has formed in the cervix, these malignant cells could migrate to other spaces and organs to produce new tumors, causing metastasis, where these cells end up spreading throughout the body causing dysfunction in the organs it attacks.

How often should a Cytology be performed?

Taking the Pap test should be done under a scheme 1-1-3, which means that a first cytology must be performed. If the result is normal, a second cytology is performed in the following year in order to eliminate possible false negatives and maintain the periodic nature of the preventive study. If this second cytology corroborates the negative result of the previous sample, then the next cytology should be performed in three years. Once the cycle is finished, the 1-1-3 scheme must be restarted.

How is a Cytology done?

Examination of the cells of the cervix you get iinserting a brush and a small spatula into the vagina and with these instruments a scraping on the cervix. This sample is placed in a glass or placed in a preservative liquid that will keep it safe until review under the microscope. The results should be analyzed with a specialist: cytotechnologist, pathologist and your treating physician.

Where should you go to take the exam?

Normally these types of studies are carried out by a specialized nurse or the same doctor within the framework of a regular gynecological consultation. You can go to any health center that provides gynecological services or also to your treating doctor.

It is important that after the sample has been analyzed in the laboratory, the reading is done correctly by the personnel authorized for this task, cytotechnologists and pathologists in the case of suspicion or diagnosis of an unfavorable case in the company of a doctor who after the review the particular case can provide the next guidelines for treatment.

In Colombia, the price of cytology is around 15,000 pesos an approximate cost that may vary depending on the place where it is carried out, but in general terms it is not too expensive considering that it is carried out under the 1-1-3 scheme where in the first two years of monitoring the scheme you must go only once to the year and then the next checkup should be three years from now.

Recommendations at the time of taking the exam

Like any medical exam, its performance causes anxiety, nervousness and fatigue, even more so when it comes to your intimate area. However, being considered one of the most recurrent causes of fatality in Colombian women is worth the effort to ensure future health and well-being.

  • Remember to comply with the requirements prior to conducting the study, so you can ensure that the result you obtain is actually reliable. Write down the date of the appointment on your calendar, discuss it with your partner, do not go unnoticed!
  • Just relax! The exam is not painful, you may feel some discomfort but you will not suffer. Although the test should be performed on women who have already had sexual intercourse, if it is not your case and you are still a virgin, ask the person taking the sample to do so with a virgin speculum.
  • When taking the sample, do not get stressed, the more relaxed you are at the time of the sample collection, the less discomfort you will feel and the easier it will be to collect the sample.
  • Do not abandon or delay the study. In Colombia this is the only test that shows or glimpses the presence of cancer or precancerous cells in the cervix, therefore it is important that you carry out the check-up so that you can be certain that you are out of danger.
  • This test does not require you to do any type of fasting, so eat whatever you want before you do the Pap smear.

For the detection and treatment of uterine cancer there are other more effective methods such as HPV test (Human Papillomavirus) and vaccine In the face of this virus, which in many countries in Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico, vaccination has become the expedited route for the prevention of the development of uterine cancer through HPV.

However, the high costs of the vaccine and Colombian regulations have still been established in favor of the enactment of this new type of study and treatment. Although cervical cytology does not end up being the most suitable option to detect HPV, in the absence of other resources and avenues for prevention it is important to maintain the implementation of cervical cytology within the medical check-ups to be carried out for the screening of problems or injuries in the uterus.

Due to the occurrence of this type of pathology in Colombian women, it is necessary to carry out a recurrent control in order not to miss future complications that could be quickly detected by this type of study. As you can see, the requirements for this type of study are not complex, so attend, have a cervical cytology performed, complying with all the requirements that we have presented and rule out possible injuries.

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