Medicine: Flap about Pap

Is an annual exam needed?

The test is familiar to almost every woman who has visited a gynecologist. To take a Pap smear, the doctor inserts a metal device that enables him or her to see into the vaginal tract. Then he inserts a swab or spatula, scrapes some cells from the cervix and smears them on a glass slide, which is then sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination. A few days later, the doctor receives a report indicating whether the cells are normal, atypical or malignant. The patient gets a bill for about $6.

American women have been urged since the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!