Pap smears are one of the most essential tests we do as part of our well woman exams. When a patient’s pap smear test shows positive for abnormal cells, we perform follow-up tests to confirm if those abnormal cells are precancerous or benign.
Why do I need a vaginal Pap Smear?
Pap smears are done to screen for cervical cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that’s spread through sexual contact with an infected person, can cause cervical cancer. HPV-affected cells gradually become precancerous. If these cells aren’t detected with a Pap smear and removed, they can develop into cervical cancer.
When should I have a Pap smear?
All women should have a Pap smear at the age of 21, then have a follow-up screening at least once every three years until they reach the age of 29. From the ages of 30 to 65 years, you may have the option of getting a pap smear or HPV testing.
What If I Don’t Need an Annual Pap Test?
- Based on recommendations from leading medical groups, an annual Pap test is no longer recommended for most women. But that doesn’t mean you should go without an annual GYN exam.
- This is because the Pap test only screens for cervical cancer, not other conditions like sexually transmitted diseases, endometrial and ovarian cancer, or fibroids. Your doctor still needs to examine you to make sure there are no lumps, bumps, or lesions that shouldn’t be there. And you should still have an annual breast exam.
What’s an Anal Pap Test and Do You Need One?
Anal pap tests are recommended for women with a history of receptive anal intercourse or abnormal cervical pap test results, all patients with HIV with genital warts, and men who have sex with men.
Yes, men need pap smears too! The lesser-known cousin to the cervical Pap smear, an anal Pap test is a screening test that collects cells from the anal canal to determine if you have anal cancer or are at risk of getting it. The female Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer, which is a sexually induced cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is also easily transmitted to the anus in women and men who have sex with men.
But don’t worry, guys. You won’t need a large vaginal speculum for your exam. Just a small, friendly swab about the size of a Q-tip.
What Happens If I Have an Abnormal Pap Smear?
When you get a Pap smear, your ERC provider send the sample to a lab. At the lab, specialists examine all the cells from your sample and submit a report to your provider.
- If your results show slight and/or mild abnormalities, the ERC provider may recommend an HPV test or a repeat Pap smear in about 3-6 months. The follow-up test will allow your doctor to see if the infection clears away.
- If your results are moderate to severe, or if mild changes don’t improve in several months, the ERC provider may perform a colposcopy for females or refer to a specialist.
ERC welcomes all clients, regardless of their ability to pay. We accept self-pay, private and public insurance. For those who are uninsured, we can help you determine whether you qualify for financial assistance, based on the ability to pay.