What Is a Pap Smear?
Pap smears are medical exams in which a doctor scrapes a group of cells off of the uterus, cervix, and vagina. This is a test to ensure that the cells extracted do not have any abnormalities or cancerous conditions. This exam typically is included in the annual wellness exam that many women undertake with their OBGYN. Some patients, especially those who are young or have not had a pelvic exam in the past may feel uncomfortable receiving a pap smear. The doctors at Legacy OB/GYN understand that this process may be uncomfortable and are able to provide a safe and comfortable environment in which women can obtain their necessary medical care.
Why Do I Need a Pap Smear?
A pap smear is necessary to ensure that a woman’s reproductive health is functioning as expected. In addition to a pap smear, women are often also tested for The Human Papillomavirus or HPV. HPV is a family of viruses that is quite common and can cause some forms of cervical cancer. Since most sexually active adults have some form of HPV, it is crucial to detect and deter any cancerous growths that can arise from lack of examination. The doctors at Legacy OB/GYN are highly skilled at detecting HPV or cancerous cells in a woman and treating these conditions.
How Are Abnormal Results Treated?
After the results of the pap smear are reported and the woman’s exam is complete, doctors will provide care for any abnormal results. This care can be as simple as a medical prescription for irritation or inflammation. If a more rigorous examination is required, a doctor may order a biopsy to determine the extent of the cancer spread. With early detection, medical interventions typically can be relatively easy and minimally invasive. If later stage cancer is discovered, patients may require full surgery to remove the affected organ to halt the spread of cancer. While this can be scary, the doctors at Legacy OB/GYN are available to ensure that each woman receives the best care possible to return her to full health.