Taking care of the body is a daily effort. However, doctors will always tell their patients that routine screenings for common concerns should be done regularly. With early diagnosis of certain conditions, patients can extend their lifespan and reduce the risks of certain diseases or cancers progressing past the point of obtaining effective treatment. The same goes for a woman’s reproductive health. Pap smears are cervical cancer screenings that are performed as part of a routine gynecological exam. It is very important for women who are of the reproductive age and beyond to have these screenings done regularly to catch the signs of cancer in the earliest stages.
What happens during a pap smear?
During a gynecological examination, the doctor may recommend a pap smear. A device called a speculum is inserted into the vaginal canal to hold the walls back and provide access to the cervix. A small device called a spatula scrapes cells from the cervix and has them tested in a laboratory to look for abnormalities that may indicate the presence of cervical cancer.
How often do I need to have a pap smear performed?
Every woman of reproductive age should have a pap smear performed at least every three years. As patients age past the age of 30, they can have these performed less often, typically combining them with an HPV test every five years. After the age of 65, if women have had normal pap smear results for ten years or longer, screening is often stopped. However, women who have had a partial hysterectomy should continue to have pap smears performed, especially if the procedure was done to address a cancerous or precancerous concern.
What if my pap smear shows cancerous cells?
If a pap smear test comes back positive for cervical cancer, your healthcare provider will contact you to schedule a further examination and to discuss treatment options.
Are you due for a routine pap smear?
The team of Columbus Women’s Care in Canal Winchester, OH is here to provide this and other gynecological services for new and current patients. Call (614) 755-4200 to schedule your visit with our team and start being proactive with your reproductive health.