A Pap test is used for cervical cancer screening by finding changes in the cells of the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer. How often you should have cervical screening depends on your age and health history and is usually performed with your annual exam. HPV testing may or may not be recommended as well. To schedule your Pap test, get in touch with the expert team at OBGYN Westside on the Upper West Side of New York City today. Call or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment.
Cervical cancer screening includes the Pap test and, for some women, an HPV test. Both tests use cells taken from the cervix. The screening process is simple and fast. You lie on an exam table and a speculum is used to open the vagina. The speculum gives a clear view of the cervix and upper vagina.
Cells are removed from the cervix with a brush or other sampling instrument. This exam is not painful. The cells usually are put into a special liquid and sent to a laboratory for testing:
HPV affects 79 million people in the United States and is the most common sexually transmitted disease. There are more than 100 different strains of HPV, and most don’t pose any significant health threat as your body typically resolves the infection on its own.
There are a few strains, however, that can lead to genital warts and, worse, cervical cancer, unless preventive action is taken.
With a Pap test, your doctor can monitor any cell changes on your cervix and intervene quickly should these cells turn precancerous. In fact, removal of precancerous cells prevents cervical cancer by up to 95%.
Abnormal results on your Pap smear aren’t necessarily cause for alarm. Again, HPV is very common and the CDC states that all sexually active men and women will contract HPV at some point in their lives.
If your results are abnormal, your doctor at OBGYN Westside may wait until the next test before making any decisions, which she may schedule sooner than normal, sometimes within three to six months of your first test with abnormal results.
If the results of your Pap smear continue to indicate abnormal cells, your doctor may take a closer look by doing a colposcopy, which is a procedure in which she examines your cervix using specialized equipment and takes a tissue sample for biopsy.
To schedule your Pap test, call OBGYN Westside or request an appointment using the online booking feature.