Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common cancers affecting women in the United States, and now it ranks at number 14. This is due in large part to routine Pap smears. At Inland Women Care in Rancho Cucamonga, California, experienced OB/GYN, Geeta Patel, MD, provides routine Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. If you can’t remember the last time you had a Pap smear, call her office today or request an appointment online to schedule your screening.
A Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. During the test, cells from your cervix are collected and analyzed at a lab to assess for cell abnormalities. Early detection of cell abnormalities improves your chances of a cure.
At Inland Women Care, Dr. Patel determines when you should get your Pap smear. But in general, every woman between the ages of 21 and 65 should have a Pap smear every three years. You may need more frequent screening if you have a history of an abnormal Pap smear or cervical cancer, a weakened immune system, or smoke.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted disease and one of the leading causes of cervical cancer in women. Women who are 30 years old and older may combine their Pap smear with an HPV test. If your HPV test comes back negative, you may be able to delay your next Pap smear by five years.
Dr. Patel conducts your Pap smear during your pelvic exam at Inland Women Care. The test is quick and relatively painless. During the test, she has you sit on the gynecological table with your feet up in stirrups. She then inserts a speculum into your vagina to separate the tissue. Then, using a special scraping tool or soft brush, Dr. Patel collects the cell sample and places it in a container to be sent for testing.
You may feel some mild cramping as Dr. Patel is collecting the cells, but any discomfort should disappear as soon as she completes the test. It’s also not uncommon to have some spotting following your Pap smear.
Dr. Patel provides details on when you should expect your results.
For the majority of women, the Pap smear comes back negative. However, if your Pap smear is positive, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. But, Dr. Patel will need to conduct some additional testing, like a colposcopy, to further evaluate your cervix to look for tissue changes so she can provide the most appropriate treatment.
A Pap smear is a routine health screening that has saved many lives. To schedule your screening, call Inland Women Care or request an appointment online today.