Arlington Family Practice
Family Practice located in Arlington, MA
Cervical cancer diagnosis most often occurs in women between the age of 35 and 44, and cervical cancer affects close to 15% of women over the age of 65. Dr. Ann Morvai and the medical team at Arlington Family Practice provide diagnostic Pap smear to women living in or around Arlington, Massachusetts, to identify the presence of cancerous cells as early as possible and to offer treatment quickly. However, Pap smears are vital for a variety of other reasons, too. Call or book online to receive a Pap smear test and take the first step in maintaining good health.
Pap Smear Q & A
What is a Pap smear?
In the past 30 years, Pap smears have become the test method of choice to screen for cervical cancer in women. It is common to have a Pap test during your annual well-woman exam.
During the procedure, your doctor places a speculum into your vagina. It creates enough room for them to brush the sides of your cervix with a sterile spatula. The cells collected are then analyzed.
In addition to your Pap smear, your doctor may screen for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or to identify the presence of a urinary tract or yeast infection during the women’s health exam.
How do I prepare for a Pap smear?
There isn’t much for you to do before a Pap smear test. However, it’s important that you interfere as little as possible with your body’s ability to naturally produce cells. To do so, Arlington Family Practice recommends that you avoid:
- Sexual intercourse in the days preceding the test
- Contraceptive jelly or spermicide
- Vaginal medication
In addition, a Pap smear shouldn’t be performed if you’re menstruating. This can lead to inaccurate results.
How often should I get a Pap smear?
Arlington Family Practice recommends that women between 21 and 65 years old schedule a Pap smear every three years.
Nonetheless, the team might recommend more frequent Pap tests based on your risk of contracting cervical cancer, your HIV status, or the state of your immune system.
What if I get an abnormal Pap test result?
If your test comes back “positive,” it means that your results identified unusual cells in your cervix. Keep in mind that having unusual cells doesn’t mean that they are cancerous.
The most common types of abnormal cells that the Pap smear can pick up include:
- Atypical squamous cells - unknown significance but not cancer-inducing
- Squamous intraepithelial lesions - precancerous cells
- Atypical glandular cells - these require further testing
- Squamous cell cancer/adenocarcinoma cells - identify the presence of cancer
These types of tests can often to lead to mass panic. Stay calm. Your Arlington Family Practice doctor will tell you exactly what the results mean and what you need to do to get your health back up to speed.
Get in touch with Arlington Family Practice today by phone or online to learn more about the use of Pap smears.