A pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is a technique doctors use to test for cervical cancer in women. It involves collecting cells from the cervix to check for any abnormal changes. If your doctor detects cancer cells early, you can be treated and cured effectively. Finding precancerous cells can help prevent the development of cancer. Doctors recommend getting Upper West Side Pap Smear every three years if you are aged twenty-one to sixty-five. Your doctor can recommend a Pap test more often if you have cervical cancer, HIV infection, or a weak immune system.
Preparation for a Pap smear
You cannot have a Pap smear during your periods. Bleeding can alter the accuracy of the test. If you get your period on the day you scheduled your test, ask your doctor to reschedule the procedure. Twenty-four hours before the test, avoid sex or using lubricants, sprays, or powders near your vagina and douching. Do not insert anything into your vagina, including tampons, medications, or creams.
Procedure for a Pap smear
You can have your Pap test in a hospital or a clinic. The entire procedure takes ten to twenty minutes. Your doctor will ask you to lie on a table, and spread your legs, and the provider will place your feet in stirrups. The doctor will insert a metal or a plastic instrument known as a speculum into your vagina. The doctor opens the speculum to widen your vaginal walls, allowing your provider to see your cervix.
Your doctor then uses a swab to take off your cervical cells. The doctor will put the cells into a particular liquid in a small jar and take them to the laboratory for review. The Pap test is not a painful procedure, but you may experience slight pressure or a little pinch sensation.
Pap smear results
It will take a few days to get your Pap smear results. They can be negative or positive.
A negative result means your healthcare provider did not find any precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix.
Positive results do not always mean you have cancer. Your Pap smear can be abnormal if you have mild inflammation or minor cell changes, HPV infection, cancer, or pre-cancer. If you had sex shortly before your Pap test, inflammation could occur. If your doctor detects minor cell changes or inflammation, the provider can recommend another Pap smear in a few months. Your provider can order more tests like colposcopy if you still have abnormal cells in the following test.
The procedure for colposcopy is similar to that of a Pap test. But in colposcopy, your doctor observes your cervix with a colposcope. A colposcope has a lens and bright light that gives your doctor a better view of your cervix. Your doctor swabs your cervix with vinegar, which highlights any suspicious-looking sections. The lens enables your doctor to see these areas. If you have abnormal areas, your doctor will take a sample and send it to a laboratory for further testing.
A Pap test helps doctors detect cervical cancer in women. The test enables doctors to offer early cancer treatment. Schedule an appointment at Karen F. Brodman, MD, PLLC, for a Pap smear to test for cervical cancer.