A Pap smear tests for cervical cancer in women. During this procedure, your OB/GYN collects cells from your cervix. Early detection of cervical cancer with the help of a Pap smear gives you a better chance at a cure. Your Pap smear may also show changes in your cervical cells that predict that cancer may develop later on.
A doctor evaluates your reproductive organs during a pelvic exam. This is often part of your routine exam that accompanies a Pap test. You might have a pelvic exam as part of your regular checkup. Your doctor might also recommend a pelvic exam to discover the cause of unusual vaginal discharge or pelvic pain.