During female wellness exams, cell samples from the cervix and vagina are obtained to see if any of these cells have changed and are pre-cancerous or cancerous. This is called a Pap smear. At the same time, practitioners can check for the presence of certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) such as 18 and 16. If these strains are present, the female is at a greater risk for cervical cancer. Depending on the level of cell change and the presence of certain HPV strains, to obtain tissue biopsies, a colposcopy may then be performed.
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