You may have heard of a pap smear, but are you familiar with what it tests for? Whether you’ve had a pap smear before or are in need of one, Dr. Craig Ranch of the McKinney, TX area can help. In addition to offering these screenings, he also educates his patients on their importance.
What is a pap smear?
The well-known pap smear is a specialized screening that is performed at most routine pelvic examinations as a way to look for the signs of cervical cancer. The pap smear is used to diagnose cervical cancer. A sample of the cells in the cervix is taken and screened for cancerous cells. By undergoing regular screenings, patients who may develop this condition will catch it at its earliest stage for successful intervention. Not only does a pap smear help diagnose cancer, it can also be used to detect other changes in the reproductive system that might need the assistance of a medical professional.
How often do I need pap smears?
Once a woman reaches the age of 21, it is highly recommended that they have a pap smear performed at least every three years to monitor for cervical cancer and reproductive issues that may impact one’s vaginal health. Patients who have a history of cervical cancer in their family or have certain risk factors that make them more likely to develop this condition may need to have pap smears performed more often.
What to expect during a pap smear
The pap smear is done during a routine pelvic examination. The patient places her feet in the stirrups of the examination table. The doctor will insert a lubricated speculum to widen the vaginal canal. A specialized long-handled swab is inserted into the canal to wipe away cells from inside of the cervix. The collected sample is evaluated at the lab to look for abnormal changes that can indicate the presence of cervical cancer, HPV, and other concerns that may impact one’s reproductive health.
Learn more about the pap smear and other diagnostic and screenings recommended for women
McKinney, TX area patients who are concerned about cervical cancer and screening for potential problems with their reproductive health are strongly encouraged to book a consultation visit with the team at Craig Ranch OB/GYN. His office is located at 7900 Henneman Way, Suite #100 and accepts new patients who call (214) 544-6600 for appointments.