A Pap test is an important screening tool for women in the battle against cervical cancer because early detection of the disease greatly increases the success of treatment. A Pap test can detect pre-cancerous changes in cervical cells allowing for early intervention. A Pap test is generally done during a pelvic exam and involves collecting a few cells from the cervix at the base of the uterus. A Pap test is painless and it takes only a few seconds for a trained healthcare provider to perform. The collected cells are examined in a laboratory under a microscope to see if there are any abnormal cells that could indicate a cancerous condition is present.
Pap tests are often combined with a test for human papilloma virus (HPV), a known cause of cervical cancer. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that all women should receive Pap tests every three years from ages 21-29. After age 30, the test should be performed every five years if combined with an HPV test, or every three years if done alone. Women who are at high risk due to personal or family history may need to be screened more frequently.
If your Pap test is positive, that is, if abnormal cells are discovered, your health care provider will recommend next steps. Dr. Amy Siegel has both the skill and compassion to deal with issues surrounding the findings of a Pap test. There is a difference in women’s health care.