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Categories > Cancer > Cancer prevention and screenings

Pap test prep

Getting routine Pap tests to detect abnormal, precancerous changes to the cervix is one of the smartest things a woman can do to prevent cervical cancer. To help make your Pap test as accurate as possible, schedule it for the middle of your menstrual cycle, around days 10 to 20. Also, about two days before your appointment, avoid:

  • douching
  • using tampons
  • having intimate relations with your spouse
  • using vaginal medications, creams, foams or jellies
  • using feminine deodorant sprays or powders
  • swimming and taking baths

Ask your healthcare provider how frequently you should have a Pap test, which may depend on your age, previous Pap results, your medical history and whether you smoke or have human papilloma virus.