A Pap smear is the most recommended screening test for cervical cancer and is offered in many medical institutions – both public and private.
But how much does a pap smear cost in Kenya?
Some hospitals charge as little as shs.1000. This cost reduces to a few hundred shillings during special cancer screening days organized in most hospitals. For example, Nairobi women’s hospital charges between shs.500-shs.900 during their discounted testing days.
Indeed, a pap smear is available for free sometimes at quite a number of hospitals during cancer awareness days. The dates vary from hospital to hospital so you might need to enquire from your hospitals if and when they offer free Pap smear test.
- ALSO READ: Cost of Cancer Screening In Kenya
Who is a Pap smear test for?
As stated above, Pap smear tests for the presence of cervical cancer cells so it’s for women. Specifically, Doctors advise that you should be taking regular pap testing from the age of 21 years up to when you’re 65 years.
How often should I go for Pap smear?
How often you should take the test depends on factors like your general health, family medical history, and what previous results shown.
Your doctor may switch to the more powerful HPV test at some point. In this case, he/she can opt for co-testing (a pap test and an HPV test are both conducted) or either of the two tests.
Overall, the schedule should be as follows:
- Age 21–29 years: once every three years (Doctors can also conduct an HPV test from age 25).
- Age 30–65 years: Pap and HPV once every five years (Or either a Pap or HPV test once every 3 years).
- Age 65+ years: Not necessary unless medically advised.
Having said that, Pap Smears should be more regular if you have multiple sexual partners or you’re in a polygamous marriage.
How to prepare for a pap smear
Remember that cervical cancer kills about 8 women daily in Kenya and the one way to avoid being part of this sad statistic is early detection.
As a matter of fact, cervical cancer is cured completely if diagnosed early so it’s important that you go for screening as and when your doctor recommends.
So, how do you prepare for a pap test?
You need to stay away from any vaginal activity for a minimum of 48 hours ahead of the test.
Simply put, avoid douching, sex, vaginal medicines, creams/jellies, and practically anything that goes into your vagina.
What causes cervical cancer?
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
HPV is sexually transmitted meaning that any women can be infected so long as they’re sexually active.
For this reason, even girls under 21 years should be tested occasionally if they are sexually involved.
How much does a pap smear cost in Kenya: Summary
We have seen that a pap smear costs anything from a few hundred shillings to about shs.1000 in most hospitals.
We have also seen that the process is occasionally free or heavily discounted in a couple of institutions during their special cancer screening days.
Lastly, we have said it’s very important to go for Pap smear test regularly to enable early detection and treatment of cervical cancer.