The Pap test, sometimes called a Pap smear or cervical cytology screening, is a simple test that can detect abnormal cervical cells. It is not the same as a pelv
ic exam. The Pap test allows early diagnosis and treatment so that the abnormal cells do not become cancer. Routine Pap tests help decrease the chance that abnormal cells are missed. If a Pap test misses abnormal cells this time, they may be found on your next Pap test.