Pap smears are routine cervical cancer screenings performed at your annual visit to check for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. This test is performed by gently scraping off a few cells from the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus found at the top of the vaginal canal. These cells are then examined in a laboratory for any abnormality that could indicate cervical cancer. Regular Pap smears help to identify cases of cervical cancer in the earliest stages.
Did You Know?
Pap smear results are very accurate and have helped to decrease both the number of cases, as well as the number of deaths from cervical cancer by 80%.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need a Pap smear?
It is recommended that any woman aged 21 or older receive regular Pap smears. In some cases, your doctor may recommend having more frequent Pap smears if you have a history of abnormal Pap smears or cancerous lesions, or if you have a weakened immune system. To find out how often you should be getting a Pap smear, schedule an appointment with our gynecologists at Bucks County Women’s Wellness today.
What can I expect when having a Pap smear at Bucks County Women’s Wellness?
Your provider will perform a pap smear by placing a speculum inside your vagina. During a speculum exam, your gynecologist will use a spatula and brush to collect the specimen from your cervix. During the brief exam, you may feel a slight pressure or mild cramping. Afterwards, you may experience some light bleeding and/or mild cramping.
When can I expect my results and what do they mean?
Once a sample has been obtained, your gynecologist will send the sample to a laboratory for testing. In most cases, it takes up to a week to get your results. When it comes to Pap smear results, you will either get a normal or abnormal result. Normal results, also known as negative, means there were no abnormal cells and you can continue having Pap smears regularly.
An abnormal result, on the other hand, means that there were some abnormal cells identified. There are several different factors that could cause an abnormal result, including: sexually transmitted infections (STIs), vaginal infections, HPV, cervical dysplasia, or recent menstruation/sex. This does not mean that you have cancer, but it could mean that your gynecologist will recommend further evaluation or a follow up exam for close surveillance.