Women need regular Pap smears to screen for the early detection of abnormal cells and cancer of the cervix. At PrimeCare Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Patrick Evivie, MD, FACP, RPVI, and Hans Kwaku, MD, MPH, FACP, provide Pap smears as part of a routine well woman exam. Typically, you should seek a Pap smear every three years, starting at age 21. To get started, call the office or schedule an appointment online.
A Pap smear is a routine gynecological test for women. It looks for signs of abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer. During the test, Dr. Evivie or Dr. Kwaku uses a swab to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix – the part of the uterus that opens to the vagina. The cells are sent to a laboratory to be examined.
No. Abnormal cells detected on your cervix don’t mean you have cancer, but the cells could be precancerous, so it’s important they be treated. Abnormal cells can also be a sign of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, which can occur with the aging process or a previous HPV infection. If you have results that cause concern, the doctors will recommend further testing and/or treatment.
A Pap smear is usually done at your routine pelvic exam. During the exam, you’ll undress from the waist down and lie on an exam table with your feet propped in stirrups. The doctors use a speculum to open your vagina. A small brush or swab is then used to glide against your cervix, obtaining a cell sample. You’ll feel some pressure, but the test is not painful and takes just seconds.
Following a Pap test, you can go right back to your regular activities. The doctors will let you know the results of the test within a few days.
Abnormal cells discovered on your cervix are highly treatable and rarely lead to side effects when caught early. For this reason, it’s important for you to get regular screenings. Get a routine Pap test every three years if you’re between the ages of 21 and 65. Your previous health history, a family history of cervical cancer, and/or prior abnormal Pap results call for more frequent tests.
If you’re due for a Pap smear and well woman exam, call PrimeCare Medical Center or schedule an appointment online.