Pap smear Singapore

What women need to know about pap smear screening in Singapore

Pap smears have become pivotal in the fight against cervical cancer, a common cancer in Singapore. According to the Singapore Cancer Society, cervical cancer is the tenth most common cancer among women in Singapore. Your best chance at beating this kind of cancer is through early detection screening tests. The Pap test or pap smear procedure gives an individual that fighting chance. If you are considering scheduling a pap smear test in Singapore we may be able to help with our question and answer segment below. We hope that we can answer your most pressing questions.

Frequently asked questions on pap smear in Singapore

What is a pap smear?

A Pap test is a screening procedure that involves collecting cells from your cervix and examining them under a microscope. A Pap test can detect cervical cancer and changes in your cervical cells that may increase your risk of cervical cancer in the future. Out of all the health screenings in Singapore, a Pap smear screening is commonly recognised as a cervical cancer screening.

When should I do my pap smear in Singapore?

You should do your Pap smear 5 days after your menstrual period ends. While a Pap smear can be done during your period, it is better to schedule an appointment after your period as the blood cells shed might affect the Pap smear results depending on how heavy your flow is.

What activities should I avoid before my pap smear?

You should avoid these activities if you have scheduled a Pap smear:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Douching
  • Use of vaginal medication
  • Use of spermicidal foams, creams or jellies

Do I need to shave for a pap smear in Singapore?

You may think that you should tidy up your vaginal area, but this is not necessary. Vaginal grooming i.e. shaving or waxing of your pubic hair does not affect your pap smear test. You can go au naturel and your results will be the same.

Who should get a pap smear?

Once you are sexually active or were previously sexually active you should have pap smear tests. In fact, women above 21 years old are encouraged to start going for cervical cancer screening.

Do pap smears hurt?

Everyone’s experience and pain threshold are different but you may feel:

  • Pressure or discomfort when the speculum inserted into the vagina
  • A scratching sensation
  • A small pinch
  • Abdominal pressure

You should urinate before you have your pap smear test done. Emptying your bladder may help to relieve some of the pressure in the pelvic area. If you are feeling severe pain during your pap smear let your doctor know immediately.

How is a pap smear done?

A vaginal speculum will be used by your doctor to open your vaginal canal. It may feel a bit cold on entry. Your doctor will then obtain a sample of your cervical cells with a small brush.

Your pap smear screening will last less than a few minutes.

During the pap smear screening, you may experience some mild discomfort and light bleeding afterward. All of this is quite normal.

How often do I need to do a pap smear screening?

The minimum requirement for pap smears is 3 years for women above 25 years old. If you have had an abnormal pap smear in the past or have confirmed risk factors for cervical cancer, your doctor may recommend that you have pap smear test more frequently.

Even if I feel fine and have no symptoms, should I still do a pap smear?

Absolutely! Women may not experience any symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer. A pap smear ensures early detection and is your best defense against cervical cancer, especially if you have a family history of this cancer.

Do I still need a pap smear if I have had my Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines?

There is no negotiation when it comes to pap smears. You certainly should continue to have your pap smears done even if you have been vaccinated. The vaccines do not protect against all the Human papilloma virus that causes cancer but it reduces the risk. Other than an HPV infection, there are other risk factors like birth control pill usage, smoking, multiple sexual partners, and having sex at an early age.

So, pap smears are still very important for cervical cancer detection.

How does a pap smear differ from a HPV test?

A HPV test detects the presence of HPV in women, the virus that causes cervical cancer; while a Pap smear looks for abnormal changes in the cervical cells and may better detect cancer causing cells.

How long do pap smear results take?

It usually takes 5 days to get your results back. You should not wait for more than a week.

Can a pap smear detect STDs?

A pap smear is a pretty specific test. It detects certain HPV strains that result in abnormal cell growth. This abnormality may develop into cervical cancer. However, a pap smear is not useful in detecting ovarian or uterine cancers.

It also does not detect other conditions such as:

  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Hepatitis B
  • Molluscum Contagiosum
  • Trichomoniasis

However, if you suspect that you have any of the above conditions, you can contact your doctor to have a test done.

What are the first signs of cervical cancer?

Early detection is one of the goals when it comes to treating cervical cancer. If a tumor has developed on your cervix, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Irregular periods
  • Post-menopausal bleeding
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Pelvic pain
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Pink vaginal discharge

So, you can tell that a pap smear is a very important test for female health. It is one of the best ways to detect cervical cancer early. You should diligently keep your pap smear appointments with your doctor. If you have not had a pap smear done in a while or it’s your first time, making an appointment for a pap smear is simple.

Speak to your doctor today!


  1. William, W., Ware, A., Basaza-Ejiri, A. H., & Obungoloch, J. (2019). A pap-smear analysis tool (PAT) for detection of cervical cancer from pap-smear images. Biomedical engineering online18(1), 16.
  2. Guo, F., Hirth, J. M., & Berenson, A. B. (2017). Human Papillomavirus Vaccination and Pap Smear Uptake Among Young Women in the United States: Role of Provider and Patient. Journal of women’s health (2002)26(10), 1114–1122.

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