Regular pap smears, or pap tests, are an important part of women's preventive health care. A pap smear is a way to check for cancer of the cervix, the opening to a woman's womb. A pap smear can find cervical cancer early. If it's found at an early stage, it's easier to cure. Dr. J. Gabriel Guajardo is one of the finest gynecologists in Brownsville, TX. He offers the full range of women's health services. Read on to find out why pap smears are so important.
Why Should I Get Pap Smears?
Pap smear tests enable doctors to detect early precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix and treat them before they become cancerous. Patients who have regular Pap tests are much less likely to develop cervical cancer than patients who don't have the test regularly, because they receive early treatment for precancerous conditions.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix. It is estimated that 4,170 deaths from the disease will occur this year. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer. Being overweight, early sexual contact, smoking, taking birth control pills, and multiple sexual partners increase the risk of cervical cancer.
How is The Pap Smear Done?
A pap smear is usually part of a pelvic exam. It will only take about one minute to perform a Pap smear during this overall exam. During the test, cells from your cervix are scraped away and examined under a microscope for abnormal growth. A Pap smear should not be painful. If you have pain during the test, you should tell her doctor.
When Should I Get a Pap Smear?
Doctors recommend a pap test beginning at age 21. If you've never had sex, you may have a low risk of cervical cancer, but you can still consider testing. If you've ever been sexually active, you need to have regular pap smears. It's important that you have regular pap smears even if you're well.
How Often Should I Get Pap Smears?
Most women should get yearly pap smear tests. Even if you are menopausal, you should continue to have pap smear tests. If you have a higher risk of cancer, you may need a pap smear test more often. Your Brownsville gynecologist can recommend what is best for you.
Don't take risks with your health. Arrange for a pap smear test today. Call our office at 956-350-4821 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Guajardo in Brownsville, TX. A pap smear can save your life!