As a part of your exam you and your provider may choose to perform a Pap smear. During this test cells are collected from your cervix with a small brush, and are then sent to a lab to be examined by a specialist. The main purpose of a Pap smear is to screen for abnormal cells that may eventually lead to cervical cancer if left untreated, although it may also help in identifying related issues such as HPV. How often you need a Pap smear depends on several factors, including your age and whether or not you’ve gotten abnormal results on past Pap tests. You and your provider can decide how often in make sense for a Pap smear to be part of your annual exam.