A Pap smear is an important screening tool that’s used to detect precancerous cells in your cervix. Also known as a Pap test, this important part of women’s health care is a recommended component of routine preventive care. Board-certified gynecologist Dr. Julia Raber in New Hyde Park, NY, offers regular Pap test screenings as well as proficient treatment following abnormal results. To find out how the Pap test can help protect you from cervical cancer, call or book your appointment online today.
A Pap smear is a test that checks your cervix, or the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina, for abnormal cell changes. Pap smear tests are an essential tool in cervical cancer prevention because finding abnormal cells before they mutate into cancer cells can often prevent cervical cancer.
A Pap smear is a quick procedure that’s typically included in a routine pelvic exam.
Dr. Raber begins by inserting a speculum to gently open your vagina so she can see your cervix. Then, she uses a slender brush to take a few cells from the areas in and around your cervix. Finally, she places the cells collected by the brush into a liquid medium which is sent sent off to a lab for testing.
While some patients experience mild discomfort during a Pap smear, the procedure isn’t painful.
Getting regular Pap tests is one of the best ways for women of all ages to prevent cervical cancer. It’s generally recommended every three years for women between the ages of 21 and 65. Starting at the age of 30, you may continue to have a Pap test every three years, or begin having a combined Pap/HPV test every five years.
If you have an increased risk for cervical cancer, Dr. Raber may recommend that you have more frequent Pap tests. A past Pap smear that showed precancerous cells or a past diagnosis of cervical cancer are the two main reasons that some women need to have Pap tests more often.
If you’re past the age of 65 and you’ve never had an abnormal Pap test, Dr. Raber may agree that you can stop having Pap smear tests.
Likewise, if you’ve had a total hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus, cervix, falopian tubes, and the ovaries) to treat a noncancerous condition, you may be able to discontinue routine cervical cancer screenings, however, you still need to come in for routine gynecological care.
If, however, your hysterectomy was done for a precancerous or cancerous condition, Dr. Raber will probably recommend that you continue having routine Pap smears.
Receiving abnormal pap smear results may be anxiety-inducing, but abnormal results don’t always mean that you have cervical cancer.
Dr. Raber is highly experienced in diagnosing cervical cell abnormalities and providing proficient treatment. Having a colposcopy can help determine whether you have cancerous cells, precancerous cells, or some other type of abnormality.
A colposcopy is a quick procedure that helps determine exactly why your Pap test results were abnormal. Once you receive results from this procedure, Dr. Raber can let you know whether you need further treatment or how often you should plan to have Pap smears going forward.
To learn more about the importance of routine Pap smear tests, call Dr. Raber’s New Hyde Park office today, or make an appointment using the convenient online booking feature.