Why the ThinPrep Pap Test?
Common Questions About
the ThinPrep Pap Test
Why should I ask for the ThinPrep Pap Test?
The ThinPrep Pap Test is the first real improvement to the conventional pap smear in 50 years. It enables laboratory professionals to identify more precancerous or cancerous cervical cells by preserving the delicate detail of your sample, and preparing that sample clearly on a slide.
How should I prepare for my pap test?
There are several steps you can take to ensure that you get the best possible results from your pap test. Schedule your appointment for a time when you do not have your period. The best time to schedule your exam is 10 to 14 days following the first day of your last period. Avoid vaginal medication, lubricants, vaginal contraceptives, or douches for 2 days before your exam. Do not have sex for 1 to 2 days before the exam. Personal lubricants, blood, medications, and other things can interfere with the collection of your cervical cells, as well as the quality of the sample on the slide.
How is the ThinPrep Pap Test different?
Once the sample is collected, the doctor rinses them into a vial of liquid instead of smearing them onto a slide. Because the sample is not "smeared", they don't clump together. This method also allows the doctor to preserve almost all of the sample, rather than just a portion. The vial with the cells is sent to the laboratory, where a machine separates the cells from unnecessary materials, such as blood and mucus. A randomized, representative sample of cells is then placed onto a slide in a clear, uncrowded way. This approach makes the ThinPrep Pap Test slide easier for the lab specialist to read.
Is an "imaged" test different than a ThinPrep Pap Test?
Yes. While both tests are collected and sent to the laboratory in the same way, the ThinPrep Imaging System is a unique technology that scans the slide in order to identify the largest and darkest cells. The ThinPrep Imager then highlights areas of the slide where abnormal cells may be, so that these important areas can be reviewed by a skilled laboratory professional.
Is there proof that the ThinPrep Pap Test is more effective?
Studies involving millions of women have demonstrated the greater effectiveness of the ThinPrep Pap Test. One study by Limaye and colleagues1 was performed at the nation's largest laboratory, and involved over 2 million samples. This study showed a 233% increase in detection of moderate to severe cellular changes over the conventional pap smear. Another study by Miller and colleagues2 showed that the addition of the ThinPrep Imaging System increased detection of moderate to severe cellular changes by an additional 42% over manually reviewed ThinPrep Pap Test slides. These are just two of more than 170 independent studies demonstrating that ThinPrep detects more precancerous and cancerous cervical cells.
If I feel fine, do I still need a pap test?
Yes. Even though you may feel fine, you should still have pap tests on a regular basis. That way, any problems can be caught and treated early, before they become serious.
What if my test results say I may have a problem?
When caught early, nearly all cervical cancers are treatable. The best way to ensure early detection is with routine pap testing. The good news is that almost 90% of all pap tests are considered normal. Results that do not fall within normal limits allow both you and your doctor to actively manage your cervical health.
Will my insurance pay for the ThinPrep Pap Test?
Although healthcare plans vary across the country, most insurers will cover both the ThinPrep Pap Test and the ThinPrep Pap Test done with the ThinPrep Imaging System.
How can I get the ThinPrep Pap Test?
That's the easiest part of all — just ask your doctor or healthcare provider. The ThinPrep Pap Test is chosen by nearly 90% of U.S. physicians. Make sure when you schedule your exam to ask for an Imaged ThinPrep Pap Test.
1. Limaye A, Connor AJ, Huang X, Luff R. Comparative analysis of conventional papanicolaou tests and a fluid-based thin-layer method. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003;127:200-4.
2. Miller et al. Implementation of the ThinPrep Imaging System in a High Volume Metropolitan Laboratory. Diag Cytopath. 2007;35:213-7.