A Pap smear is an essential women’s health screening that you should never skip. Regular Pap smears catch early signs of cervical cancer, which could be deadly if not treated early. Dr. Susan Rife and Associates Family Medicine tracks your Pap smear schedule and can help you if your test comes back with abnormal results. If you’re due for a Pap smear, call the office in Orland Park, Illinois, or use the online tool to schedule an appointment.
A Pap smear is a noninvasive screening test that checks for irregular cells in your cervix that could become cancerous. This screening is an opportunity for your doctor to identify potential health issues and treat them early when they’re most resolvable.
This simple test is done during a pelvic exam. Your provider uses a swab or small brush to collect a sample of cells from your cervix. They send these cells to a lab that looks for any changes that could suggest infection or irregularities.
During a Pap smear, you feel a little pressure, but it’s not painful.
A Pap smear is a regular part of preventive women’s health care. Most women begin Pap smears at age 21.
You then benefit from a Pap test every three years until you reach the age of 29. After that, ask about getting either a Pap smear every three years or a test for the common sexually transmitted infection HPV (human papillomavirus) every five years. Certain strains of HPV put you at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Women who have a history abnormal Pap smears results or a family or personal history of cervical cancer may need more frequent screenings. After age 65, Pap smears are usually no longer necessary.
No matter your age, your provider can talk about what’s the best Pap smear schedule for your unique health needs.
An abnormal Pap smear is NOT a diagnosis of cancer. It’s an indication that you should have a repeat Pap smear or further testing to investigate irregular cells found on your cervix.
An abnormal Pap smear is most often an indication of:
Sometimes, though, abnormal Pap smear results can also indicate the presence of precancerous cells.
A second Pap smear scheduled several months later is often recommended if your first one comes back as “abnormal.” In many cases, the abnormal cells disappear on their own because the irregular cells were a result of a temporary infection or recent sexual activity.
An abnormal Pap smear result may also indicate the need for additional diagnostic tests. The providers at Dr. Susan Rife and Associates Family Medicine can help you schedule these tests that may include a colposcopy, which is an in-depth exam of your cervix.
Schedule your Pap smear today by calling Dr. Susan Rife and Associates Family Medicine or by using the online booking tool.