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Does the Pap Test Check for All Cancer Types?

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Updated April 15, 2008

Question: Does the Pap Test Check for All Cancer Types?
Sometimes a normal routine gynecologic examination and Pap test can lead to a false sense of security.
Answer: No. The Pap test only gathers cells scraped from the cervix. Although pre-cancer and cancer cells from the ovary, uterus, vagina and vulva can travel to the cervix and be detected by the Pap, this is not a very reliable way to screen for anything other than cervical pre-cancer (dysplasia) and early cancer. It will certainly miss virtually all early ovarian cancers and more than 95% of any stage ovarian cancer.
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