Women have a variety of diagnostic tools available to monitor their reproductive health at Craig Ranch OB/GYN in McKinney, TX. This includes the routine pap smear.
What is a pap smear?
Our team defines the pap smear, which is sometimes called a pap test, as a special diagnostic test that is used to detect cancerous cells in or around the cervix at the opening of the uterus. By using a special wand-like device with a plastic brush at the end, the doctor can insert the swab into the area to scrape cells from the cervix. The cells are then sent off to a laboratory for an evaluation. If cancerous cells are found, the doctor will assess the lab results and speak to the patient about their possible next steps.
How often should a pap smear be performed?
Most women will want to have a pap smear done every three years. The frequency of the test will be reevaluated once a woman hits the age of 60, as the likelihood of cervical cancer reduces with menopause. For women who have a history of cervical cancer in their family, more routine pap smears may be recommended.
Why are pap smears important?
The pap test is important as it provides a way to monitor for cervical cancer. The sooner cervical cancer is found, the more effective early intervention will be. Early detection of any type of cancer will often result in faster treatment, which is why both men and women have routine screenings such as mammograms, prostate examinations, or colonoscopies.
Are pap smears painful?
While the idea of having cells scraped from the inside of the cervix may sound uncomfortable, it’s really not. Most patients are completely comfortable as the pap smear is completed in just a few seconds. Some women might experience some spotting after their pap smear, but this is completely normal and nothing to be concerned of. For most women, the insertion of the speculum is more uncomfortable than the pap test itself.
Are you in need of a routine pap smear?
It’s time to take charge of your reproductive health and take a proactive approach to monitor for cancers and conditions that may impact you. Contact Dr. Craig Ranch and his team at Craig Ranch OB/GYN by calling (214) 544-6600 to request an appointment at 7900 Henneman Way, Ste. #100.