A Pap smear
is a test that checks for changes in the cells of the cervix
. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus
that opens into the vagina. Other terms for Pap smear are Papanicolaou smear, Pap test, and cervical smear. The main purpose of the Pap test is to find abnormal cell changes that may arise from cervical cancer
or before cancer develops.