Pap Smear for Women: Detect and Treat Cervical Changes
Why is a Pap Smear for Women Important?
A pap smear for women is an important regular preventive health measure performed by your gynecologist. A pap smear helps your doctor detect and treat cervical changes. The cervix is the lower end of your uterus, located at the top of the vagina. A pap smear for women is used to detect cervical cancer, as well as changes to cervical cells that indicate cancer may develop in the future. It is recommended that women ages 21 to 65 get a pap smear once every three years. Your annual well woman exam is an ideal time for your doctor to perform a pap smear.
At Lona Sasser Obstetrics and Gynecology, we regularly perform pap smears to help our valued patients keep on top of their health. The earlier a condition like cervical cancer is detected, the more effective treatment can be. So if you are seeking a gynecologist to perform a pap smear, schedule an appointment today! It’s easy to book online.
Pap Smear for Women: What Does the Procedure Involve?
In an exam room at your doctor’s office, you may be asked to undress completely or from the waist down. Your doctor will guide you to lie on your back on a table with knees bent, and place your heels into supports called stirrups. Your gynecologist will gently insert a speculum into your vagina. This is a metal tool used to hold the walls of your vagina open so your cervix is visible to your doctor. Your doctor will use a soft brush and flat scraping device to take samples of some of your cervical cells. You will feel some sensation, but the procedure usually does not hurt.
Your doctor will send your cervical cells to a laboratory where they will be examined under a microscope to detect characteristics indicating cancer or a precancerous condition. Results will either be negative, meaning no abnormal cells are present, or positive. In the case of a positive test, your doctor will determine the course of action necessary to respond to the presence of abnormal cells.
Ready to schedule a pap smear or other preventive health screening?
Pap Smear for Women: Only Once Every Three Years?
In the past, it was recommended that women get a pap smear every year. But the American College of Physicians advises that a screening once every three years is sufficient for women ages 21-65. Women under age 21 generally do not need pap smears. It is common for women under age 21 to have unusual cervical features which are rarely problematic, but which may be treated unnecessarily if detected through a pap smear.
According to an article on WebMD,
“Annual screening is no longer recommended because of the high rate of false-positive results — when a Pap smear result is abnormal — tied to frequent screening. There is a long lag time between the development of precancerous lesions and invasive cervical cancer — about 10 years — so less-frequent screening should still be able to spot the disease in time.”
Is it time for your pap smear? Book an appointment at our practice in Coral Springs! Learn more about our team of doctors and staff.
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