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How Often Should Someone Get a Pap Smear?
Are you looking for information about pap smear tests? This important procedure is a must for all women as it is able to detect any cell changes within the cervix and uterus that can lead to a cervical cancer diagnosis. The sooner any precancerous cells are found, the higher one’s chances of experiencing success when being treated for cancer.
The procedure takes between five and 10 minutes to perform and while it may cause a little bit of discomfort, there is no pain involved.
What exactly is a Pap smear?
A pap smear test is performed by a medical professional with a goal of finding abnormal cells. The cells are removed from the cervix using a special tool and are sent to a laboratory for testing. In order to access the cells, a woman will lie down on a special table that includes a place to place her feet. The medical professional will gently insert a speculum into the vagina, which allows them to see the cervix so that they can remove the cells with the specialized tool.
How often should someone get a Pap smear?
The following guidelines on how often women need to have a pap smear performed were created by the American Cancer Society. The time to perform a woman’s first Pap test is by the time they reach the age of 21.
Ages 21 to 65
Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should have a Pap smear performed every three years. If a Pap smear is combined with an HPV test then women between these ages can elect to have the test performed every five years.
Women over the age of 65 no longer need to have Pap smears performed if the results of their last three Pap smears have come back as normal, which essentially means within the last 10 years. It is still necessary for women over the age of 65 to make regular appointments with their gynecologist to ensure that they are in overall good general health.
When Pap smears are needed more often
There are certain instances when women will need to have a Pap smear performed more often. This includes but is not limited to previously having one or more abnormal Pap smears, being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, undergoing an organ transplant and those who were born to mothers who took DES (a synthetic female hormone ) while they were pregnant.
Is it time to schedule a Pap smear appointment?
Now that you understand how often you need to get a Pap smear, is it time for you to schedule your next Pap smear? The entire procedure is one that does not take long to perform, which means you can be in and out within about an hour. If you happen to have any questions we can answer for you, please do not hesitate to call our office today so we can schedule a consultation for you.
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