Many women have been told to have a pap smear performed on a regular basis. But what exactly is a pap smear, and why is it recommended?
Understanding the pap smear
The team of Columbus Women’s Care of Canal Winchester, OH describe the pap smear as a special test that is used to screen women for cervical cancer. When a doctor performs a pap smear, the doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix at the top of the vagina. These cells are sent to a laboratory to evaluate for problems such as cervical cancer. Abnormal cells may indicate cancer, during which a positive test would initiate further examination.
When is a pap smear performed?
Pap smears are often performed during a woman’s routine pelvic examination which should be done every year. It may be combined with other tests, such as HPV (human papillomavirus) or other sexually transmitted diseases and infections that can lead to cervical cancer. Patients who are exhibiting symptoms of cervical cancer may also have a pap smear performed as needed.
Pap smears may be performed more often for patients who have:
• Signs of precancerous cells
• Been exposed to diethylstilbestrol before birth
• HIV infection
• A history of tobacco use and smoking
• Weakened immune systems
Why are pap smears important?
Screenings for cancer such as pap smears can help a professional diagnose a patient in the earlier stages of cancer if they test positive during a test. Cervical cancer may be present without any symptoms. Women who catch their cancer in the earlier stages have a much better chance of treating their cancer and keeping it from spreading elsewhere to the body. With routine screenings, women are taking a proactive approach to their health which can improve their chances of fighting cancer and other conditions that can occur in one’s lifetime.
Learn more about the importance of screenings for better female reproductive health
If you are located in the area of Canal Winchester, OH and are interested in quality care, we invite you to connect with our doctors at Columbus Women’s Care by calling (614) 755-4200. Our professionals are here at 7901 Diley Road, Suites 205/260 to assist new and returning patients.