A Pap smear is the single best tool for screening women for cervical cancer. This simple procedure is performed by taking a swab of your cervix and detects abnormalities in the cells on your cervix which could indicate a precancerous or cancerous condition. In fact, this simple test can buy you valuable time in treating a potentially dangerous problem, something that very few cancers afford.
If your test comes back positive, that means some abnormal cells were found; a negative result means nothing unusual was found in your Pap smear. Positive results don’t necessarily indicate that you have cancer because these results can be caused by several issues, such as:
Dr. Osman and Dr. Sanches often recommend a wait-and-see approach, especially if you’ve never had a problem before, and will usually order another Pap smear in a few months. If you’ve had several positive results in a row, however, the gynecologists typically investigate further and order more tests, which is when more serious conditions, such as cervical cancer, can be detected and treated, often while it is still in a precancerous stage.
According to Women’s Health, a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Pap smears should be performed according to the following guidelines:
It’s best to discuss this with your doctor since there are several variables that will determine the frequency at which you should be tested.
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