Pap SmearsFresno, CA
Pap smears are screening procedures performed on the cervix to check for precancerous and cancerous cells. If any cervical cancer cells are detected during the Pap smear, the gynecologist will discuss with the patient what their next steps are going to be. These steps need to be done as soon as possible in order to prevent the cancer from spreading and accordingly becoming a larger health issue. It is not uncommon for patients to also be tested for HPV (human papillomavirus) at this time, as this common sexually transmitted infection has the potential to cause cervical cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer can often be found early and sometimes even prevented entirely by having regular Pap tests. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
Why Pap smears are necessary
The signs of cervical cancer do not usually appear until it has reached its more advanced stages, making it essential for those who have a cervix to make regular Pap smear appointments to have the screening procedure performed. It may be necessary for those who are currently menstruating to reschedule their Pap smear, as test results often tend to be less accurate during menstruation. It is also recommended to avoid sexual intercourse, using a douche or using any type of spermicidal creams for at least three days before having a Pap smear performed.
What Pap smears can detect:
The first Pap smear
All women should have their first pap smear by the age of 21. If they were sexually active in their teen years, then they should make an appointment with a gynecologist for their first Pap smear within six months after their first experience of having sexual intercourse.
It is important for everyone when making their first appointment to let the gynecologist office know that it is their first appointment. It is also important for those who feel a little apprehensive about their first Pap smear appointment to understand that it will not be painful and that the gynecologist will let them know what is happening every step of the way.
What to expect during a first Pap smear procedure:
How often should Pap smears be performed?
A Pap smear should be performed every two to three years until a patient reaches the age of 30. If they experience three normal pap smears in a row after the age of 30, then they will need to schedule a Pap smear at least every five years. Those who have been diagnosed with a weakened immune system, are HIV positive or have a history of smoking are considered to be at a higher risk for cancer and therefore may need to be seen more often. Ultimately, it is up to the gynecologist to decide how often a patient should come in to be checked for cervical cancer.
Ready to schedule your Pap smear?
If you are 21 years of age or older and have never had a Pap smear, then scheduling one today is highly recommended. A Pap smear is able to show any abnormalities you have in your cervical area, as well as test for other health issues that may be present, like HPV or HIV. The fact that cervical cancer and other cervical issues have a much higher chance of being successfully treated when addressed in its earliest stages simply makes it essential for you to make an appointment for a Pap smear on a regular basis.
At Camilla L. Marquez, MD, we can help detect any instance of cervical cancer, HPV or STDs by performing a Pap smear. Visit us at our Fresno office today.
No one likes to talk about the potential health risks associated with sexual intercourse, but OBGYN professionals want you to know about the importance of the HPV vaccine. Understanding the facts and purposes of this vaccine can help individuals take action to protect against dangerous health problems.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,…
Thinking you may need the help of an infertility doctor? When you have been trying to conceive for many months and the results come back negative, it just may be time for you and your partner to undergo a general health evaluation. Everyone is different, which means it may take you longer to conceive than…
Anytime a woman is experiencing unusual pain in the abdomen, it is important to see an OBGYN. It could be an ovarian cyst or something more serious. Ovarian cysts can be painful. Sometimes, the pain from these cysts is so intense that women have to take time off work or stay home from activities. It…
You go to your OBGYN for a wide variety of issues and treatments. No matter what stage of life you find yourself in, this doctor is indispensable for your health and wellness. Your doctor will also keep on eye on signs of disease and other issues, such as cancer. There are also vaccines, such as…