Papanicolaou Smears (Pap Smears)
About 274,000 women die from cervical cancer each year, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in women (the first being breast cancer). 80% of these deaths occur in the developing world, where the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear is not available. With the Pap smear, cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to detect and prevent. It is performed during a pelvic exam and can detect precancerous changes in the cervix. If detected early, these precancerous changes can be removed before becoming cancerous.
When should I get a Pap smear?
- Cervical cancer screenings should begin at 21, regardless of the patient’s sexual history
- Women between the ages of 21 and 29 years old should get a Pap smear every three years
- Women over the age of 30 who have had three consecutive normal Pap tests can continue to be screened at an interval of every three years
- If an HPV test is performed at the same time as a Pap smear, your recommended interval is every five years for women over 30
- Women who have HIV or other immunocompromised conditions should get a Pap smear every year
- Cervical cancer screenings can be discontinued at age 65 if the patient has had no abnormal test results in the last 10 years
How Are Pap Smears Done?
Pap smears are performed during a pelvic exam where the patient is lying on her back on the examination table, with her knees bent and the heels of the feet in the stirrups. A speculum is used to keep the vaginal walls open and a small soft brush takes a few cells from the cervix. The cells are sent to a laboratory for screening.
At Urgentology Care, we offer Pap Smears on a need basis. If you experience pelvic pain, bleeding, sensation of fullness, or have any concerns, please see your Ob/Gyn or visit our urgent care to get checked promptly. We are open every day at convenient times.
* Disclaimer - The information on our website is not medical advice and should not be regarded as such. All information is provided as-is without any warranties. If you have any specific medical questions, please contact a medical provider. If you are experiencing severe medical issues, please visit your nearest emergency room or dial 911.