Anal Pap Smear

Anal Pap Smear

What is Anal Pap Smear?

Anal pap smear is a test used to screen for anal cancer in high risk individuals.

High risk means:

  • Persons who receive anal sex;
  • Persons who tested positive for high risk HPV
  • Persons who are HIV positive

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See: Rapid HPV Testing

How Does Anal Pap Smear work?

Essentially, the doctor will insert a swab into the rectum to take some samples of the cells in the rectum. It is not painful but may be uncomfortable.

What is HPV?

HPV is large group of a virus called Human Papilomavirus. Medically, we are concerned about 2 groups of the HPV virus. One group is known collectively as High Risk HPV and the other group is called Warts causing HPV.

The group consisting of High Risk HPV causes various cancers in both men and women – cervical cancers, anal cancers and penile cancers.

The group consisting of wart causing HPV is associated with genital warts. Importantly, wart causing HPV group does not cause cancer and the high risk group HPV does not cause genital warts.

What does Anal Pap Smear test for?

Anal Pap smear is a screening test for anal cancer and looks at the cells in the rectum to look at abnormal cells that may suggest cancer.

What are some of the common symptoms?

In its early stages, anal cancer often has no obvious symptoms. In later stages, symptoms that may be experienced by some people are:

  • blood or mucus in stools (faeces) or on toilet paper
  • itching, discomfort or pain around the anus
  • a feeling of fullness, discomfort or pain in the rectum
  • a lump near the edge of the anus
  • ulcers around the anus
  • difficulty controlling bowels

What you need to prepare for Anal Pap Smear?

There is no preparation needed for anal pap smear. Do not apply anything like gels/ creams around the anal area prior to the test.

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