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A pap smear is a test that checks for the presence of cervical cancer by looking for cancerous and precancerous cells in the cervix area. It can also find any other abnormalities including cysts and signs of disease. This can be very sensitive and uncomfortable for some women, however, at Salcedo Medical Center, Dr. Salcedo completes this examination in the most professional and respectful manner, and there is always a female nurse present.
Sexually active women should have pap smears, even if they haven’t been sexually active in a long time. Nearly every woman will need to have a pap smear. A pap smear is the best way of detecting the signs of cervical cancer early, as well as other health problems, making it a very important test for nearly all women.
During a pap smear, the patient will disrobe from the waist down, using a sheet for coverage. The doctor will then have the patient place their feet in stirrups on the exam table. The doctor will then insert a speculum, a small medical instrument used for dilation, into the vagina. The cervix will then be gradually opened up until the doctor can obtain a small sample of cells from the cervical opening, using a swab. The swab will then be sealed in a sterilized bag to be sent for testing. A pap smear should be done every 3 years or 5 years depending on the age and health of the woman. Dr. Salcedo can help you determine how often you should be getting your pap smear.
No, a pap smear is a quick test that requires no recovery time. Most patients are able to return to their usual routine right away afterward.
The physician will let each patient know how long it will take to get their results. The office will contact patients as soon as their results are ready. If the pap smear is abnormal, the doctor will need to see the patient for another appointment.
An abnormal pap smear usually indicates the presence of HPV or another health concern. These conditions often resolve on their own. There are also cases where the HPV must be treated to prevent it from eventually turning into cancer. An abnormal pap smear does not always mean that cancer is present. Dr. Salcedo and his team will usually schedule a biopsy to determine whether treatment needs to be pursued when an abnormal pap smear result occurs.
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