Cervical Cancer Screening

      Cervical cancer (or cancer of the cervix) is the second most widespread form of tumor among women, with an incidence in Italy of about 3.500 new cases and 1.000 deaths a year.

      In Sicily, with 600 new cases a year, it accounts for 6% of death from cancer.

      The PAP test is the test employed for the uterine cervix cancer screening.

      It consists in taking a sample of exfoliation cells from the cervix by means of a spatula and a tiny brush; these exfoliation cells are cells which die and come off in the regular tissue change process: smeared on a slide and later coloured, they are analysed under the microscope in search of possible anomalies.

      The Pap test is also called oncologic smear test, to differentiate it from the bacteriological smear test which is not a screening test but is used to detect possible infections.

      Every three years Palermo ASP sends letters to all women aged between 25 and 64, inviting them to do a Pap test, at one of the 40 Consultori Familiari (Family Planning Centres) in operation throughout the province.

      The Pap test is offered free of charge. It is also possibile to have spontaneous access to these centres, booking by phone.

      The Pap test allows to detect, at an early stage, those lesions which, if not treated, may change into invasive tumors.

      If the Pap test result is positive, a colposcopy, and if necessary a biopsy, is done to confirm the presence or not of pre-cancerous lesions which, if not treated, may degenerate into a tumor in a long lapse of time (5-10 years).

      Pre-tumoral lesions, however, can be treated by means of ultra-conservative minimally invasive interventions, which can be done on an outpatient or day surgery basis, with the removal of a small part of the cervix, thus preserving a woman’s future fertility.

      For further information see the site: gisci

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