Cell sampling – How it works

Every year around 550 women get cervical cancer. The more women who go and have their cell samples taken, the more cell changes we will find in time and be able to cure 9 out of 10 women. Here you can read more about how the cell sample itself is carried out.

What is a gynecological pap smear?

A gynecological pap smear is a sample taken from the cervix, i.e. the lowest part of the cervix that opens into the vagina. All women over the age of 23 are called to have a pap smear, either to a gynecologist or a midwife.

The cell test is free in Sweden and is done to detect cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer. Therefore, it is very important that you go for your Pap test when you are called.

Good to know before the examination

If you are pregnant, it is still fine to submit a Pap test. If, on the other hand, you have your period on the day you are to submit a pap smear, you need to book a new appointment.

This is how the survey works

  • The midwife or gynecologist often starts by asking a few questions and telling you about the pap smear.
  • Then you get to take off the clothes on your lower body and lie down in a gynecological examination chair.
  • The midwife or gynecologist can take the sample in slightly different ways, but usually a soft spatula is used which is stroked a little lightly against the cervix. Next, a small soft brush is stroked where the cervix begins.
  • Many people feel that it feels unusual or uncomfortable to lie in a gynecologist’s chair, but the sampling only takes a few minutes and it usually does not hurt. Some may feel a slight discomfort, but it passes quickly.
  • Now it’s finished! The cell sample is sent to a laboratory where an assessment takes place.

When will I receive my test results?

You usually receive a letter with test results within six weeks, but sometimes it can take longer than that. Approximately 95 out of 100 samples are without cell changes and are considered normal. Then you will receive the test answer sent directly to your home by post.

If the sample is unclear, which is usually because it contains too few cells, and cannot be analyzed, you may be called for a new cell sampling. However, it is unusual.