In a given year, over 13,000 new diagnoses of cervical cancer occur in the United States. Because a Pap smear continues to remain at the forefront for screening cervical cancer, the doctors at All About Women OB/GYN in Panama City, Florida, offer advanced Pap testing. If you’re due for a Pap smear, book an appointment online or call to speak with a team member directly.
A Pap smear is often part of a well-woman exam and is used to screen for precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix, in addition to human papillomavirus (HPV) in some cases. During a Pap smear, you lie back on the exam table and place your feet in stirrups.
Your OB/GYN places a speculum into your vagina, which holds open your vaginal walls. The next step involves using a small brush to gently scrape the surface of your cervix to gather a sample of cells. Because of this step, it’s helpful to avoid scheduling your Pap smear during your period.
The entire Pap smear is quick and takes just a couple of minutes. While you shouldn’t feel any pain, it’s common to experience some pressure from the speculum.
You should get your Pap smear results back within a week or two. If your results are normal, no further action is necessary. But if your results are abnormal, the team at All About Women OB/GYN schedules you for a follow-up visit. Don’t panic if this happens to you.
Your OB/GYN may want to conduct another Pap smear to ensure your results were accurate, or have you come back in after a duration of time to have another Pap smear. They may also request other types of diagnostic testing, such as a blood draw or colposcopy.
After conducting all essential screenings, if you still have abnormal (positive) Pap test results, it could mean that you have abnormal cells that need monitoring, or precancerous cells, such as a squamous intraepithelial lesion. For abnormal cells, your practitioner may perform a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove them.
With early detection, cervical cancer can be effectively treated.
The team at All About Women OB/GYN recommend getting your first Pap smear at age 21. As long as you’re generally healthy and continue having normal Pap testing, you should continue getting Pap smears every three years until age 65.
After age 30, you can consider getting Pap smears every five years only if combining the test with HPV screening.
If you ever have an abnormal Pap test, your OB/GYN could recommend more frequent screenings to check cellular changes. Your doctor at All About Women OB/GYN may recommend stopping Pap smears if you had a total hysterectomy and had your uterus and cervix removed.
Schedule your Pap smear at All About Women OB/GYN today. You can conveniently schedule a visit either online or over the phone.