A Pap smear, or a Pap test, is a procedure used to test for cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus; it is roughly cylindrical and connects the upper part of the uterus to the vagina. During a Pap smear, the medical professional collects cells from the uterus to examine them for signs of cancer.
What Happens During a Pap Smear?
A Pap smear is an outpatient procedure that can be done during a pelvic exam in our office. The specialist will use a tool called a spatula to scrape some cells off of the cervix. The sample will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis. They will typically have the results within a week.
Pap smears take only minutes to perform with minimal discomfort. The patient will be able to resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure.
Who Should Get Them?
Women should start getting Pap smears after they turn 21. Young women should get them done every year. A woman who is over 30 and has had at least three normal results in a row can get a Pap smear once every five years, providing they get an HPV screening at the same time. Women who are over 65 and have always gotten normal results can stop getting them. However, any woman who is interested in maintaining cervical health should really consider getting regular Pap smears.
What is HPV?
HPV stands for the human papillomavirus and describes about 150 related viruses. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is so common that even people who are monogamous can get it. Some types cause warts, and some other types cause cancer, especially cervical cancer.
Symptoms of HPV infection may not develop until years after the initial infection – if they appear at all. There are vaccines that can prevent infections by the more common types of HPV. A Pap smear can help to detect and prevent cervical cancer from HPV. Catching cancer early will improve the patient’s chances of survival.
Schedule Your Pap Test Today
Knowing you have the right care for your body matters, and staying healthy requires a great amount of knowledge and maintenance. Finding the right care is incredibly important, and at South Lake OB/GYN, our doctors will make sure that you receive the best treatment during routine procedures like Pap smears to ensure your overall health. Contact us today to schedule your Pap smear at our office in Clermont.