Pap Smear Q&A
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear test is designed to detect cervical cancer and cervical cell abnormalities. During the test, your doctor at Family Medicine NYC, PC collects cells from your cervix.
For women age 21 to 65, a Pap test is usually recommended every three years. Women with certain underlying medical conditions might need more frequent testing.
A test for HPV, or human papillomavirus, can be performed at the same time as a Pap test.
What can I expect during my Pap smear test?
Pap smear tests are quick and can be conveniently performed in the office. You’re typically asked to undress and are given a medical gown to wear. You lie on an exam table with your feet in stirrups and your knees bent.
When you’re comfortable and ready, your doctor gently inserts into your vagina an instrument called a speculum, which holds open the vaginal walls to allow your doctor to view your cervix.
Using a small, soft brush or special scraping tool, your practitioner takes a sample of your cervical cells. The sample is sent to a lab to be analyzed for abnormalities or any signs that could indicate cancer or precancer.
What if my Pap smear test results are abnormal?
If your Pap smear results are abnormal, you might need a colposcopy, during which your doctor uses a special magnifying instrument to examine your cervix more closely.
Your doctor might recommend a colposcopy if you have concerns about abnormal pelvic bleeding or pain. A colposcopy can be used to evaluate:
- An inflamed cervix
- Genital warts on the cervix
- Polyps or growths on the cervix that are noncancerous
If abnormal cells are detected, a procedure might be recommended to remove the cells.
What are the benefits of a Pap smear test?
Pap smears offer many benefits and are a great preventive care method to help you take care of your reproductive health. Some cancerous, precancerous, and abnormal cells might not exhibit any symptoms and may go unnoticed without a Pap smear test.
Pap smear tests are now more effective than ever. If it’s time for your Pap test or if you have concerns, call or schedule online to visit Family Medicine NYC, PC in New York City.