A pap smear is a test that can detect cervical cancer, and even signs of cervical cancer before it fully forms. This type of test is normally done during a well-woman exam. A pap smear is normally done anywhere from once a year to once every three or five years, based on a woman's age and state of health. Dr. Ferro will recommend a schedule that is customized for each woman.
Essentially, every woman after 21 years of age needs to have a pap smear done on a schedule recommended by Dr. Ferro. The schedule may vary depending on age and previous Pap smear results. It may range from yearly to every 3 or 5 years. Dr. Ferro will place you on an appropriate schedule based on your history. Most but not all women may stop cervical cancer screening at the age of 65.
The pap smear takes only minutes and is it usually just one small component of a well woman exam. During the pap smear, the patient will already be in position for the pelvic exam part of the well-woman visit. Dr. Ferro will use a speculum to gently visualize the cervix so a small sample of cells can be taken. The cell sample will be evaluated in the lab so that early signs of cervical cancer or other problems can be identified.
There is no need to panic if a pap smear result is abnormal. Many women have abnormal pap smear results, but this type of result does not automatically translate into cancer. Dr. Ferro will discuss the results with you. The early detection offered by a pap smear means that most people are able to start treatment promptly and avoid development of cancer. The treatment approach taken depends on the severity of the problem and on how early the indicators of atypical or abnormal cells were discovered.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!