Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in women, which is why a regular Pap smear is so important. This screening test detects abnormal cells that could turn into cancer. At Sarasota OB/GYN Associates in Sarasota, Venice and Port Charlotte, Florida, Katrina Davis, MD, FACOG, and Lyvie-Sara Sylvestre, MS, MD, provide regular Pap smears on a schedule that’s appropriate for your age and health history. If you’re due for a Pap smear, call or schedule an appointment online today.
A Pap smear is a minimally invasive screening test that usually occurs during a routine pelvic exam at your well-woman visit. Your provider at Sarasota OB/GYN Associates uses a swab to take a sample of cells from your cervix and sends the sample to a lab for analysis.
During a Pap smear, you may feel some uncomfortable pressure but no pain.
A Pap smear can detect cervical cells that are irregular and that may be precancerous. This precancerous stage is the best time to treat irregular cells before they develop and become invasive.
Pap smears greatly reduce deaths from cervical cancer.
Your age and health history determine how often you should have a Pap smear at Sarasota OB/GYN Associates.
Most women begin getting Pap smears at age 21. After that, you should get one at least every three years. Women with regular negative tests may wait five years between tests.
Women with a history of abnormal Pap results or cervical cancer may need more frequent Pap smears. Sarasota OB/GYN Associates can put you on a schedule that’s right for you.
If your Pap smear results come back abnormal, there’s no need to panic. It’s not a diagnosis of cancer. Abnormal results can appear due to:
Abnormal Pap test results can also indicate the presence of precancerous cells.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear, Sarasota OB/GYN Associates will likely recommend you repeat the test in a month or two. Often, the abnormal cells disappear on their own.
If your abnormal results persist, you’ll need to have additional diagnostic tests to better analyze the cells. A colposcopy is a common next step.
This screening tool involves a special magnifying lens that allows your provider to get a better look at your cervical cells. A small sample of your cervical tissue may also be obtained during this procedure.
Many treatments are available if your cervical cells are diagnosed as precancerous or cancerous. In some cases, cryotherapy – or freezing the cells – destroys the affected cells.
Sarasota OB/GYN Associates may recommend a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove abnormal cells.
Schedule your Pap smear today to preserve your cervical health. Call Sarasota OB/GYN Associates or book an appointment online today.