What is a Pap smear?

Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer in women worldwide. Pap smears are an important part of routine checkups for women to screen for precursors and early stages of cervical cancer.  Pap smears are important, because they detect cervical cancer early, preventing the development of invasive cervical cancer and reducing its mortality.

 

How often should you get a Pap smear?

Most doctors follow USPSTF recommendations that suggest routine Pap smear testing at age 21. Most women should have a Pap smear every 3 years when they’re 21 – 65 years old. The recommendations may vary depending on the clinical scenario.

 

What does a pap smear test for?

The cells collected from the cervix are passed under a microscope for cytological abnormalities, this includes precancerous and cancerous types of cervical cell lines.

 

How long do Pap smears take?

Pap smears should take about 10 to 20 minutes for the whole exam, but the actual procedure should only take a couple of minutes. You should be able to get your results in 2-4 weeks, depending on the lab to which your results are sent.

 

Will I ever have to stop getting Pap smears before the age of 65?

If you had a total hysterectomy, which is the complete removal of the uterus and the cervix, you may not need to continue Pap smear tests. If you had your hysterectomy for a noncancerous condition, you should be able to discontinue Pap smears. However, if your hysterectomy was performed for cancer in the cervix, you probably still need to continue Pap smears.

 

If you haven’t had your Pap smear, or have more questions about Pap smears, your primary care physician is the best place to start. If you’re looking for a primary care physician in Plano, Irving, Coppell, or Frisco, call us at 214-666-6259 or schedule an appointment in the contact tab above the post.

Author Jai Sammpath

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