Roughly 13,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. Since cervical cancer is easily detectable through routine Pap smears, the dedicated OB/GYN team at Signature Women’s Healthcare, with offices in Lithonia and Lawrenceville, Georgia, provide comprehensive Pap testing. If you’re due for a Pap smear or a well-woman annual exam, book an appointment online or call your nearest office directly.
A Pap smear continues to be the leading preventive screening for cervical cancer, a type of cancer that can be life-threatening if left untreated. Pap smears involve gathering samples of your cervical cells and having them evaluated in a lab to determine if you have abnormal, precancerous, or cancerous cervical cells.
All women over the age of 21 should be getting regular Pap smears. You typically need Pap tests every three years, but once you reach age 30, you can undergo Pap testing every five years if you have a human papillomavirus (HPV) screening at the same time.
If you’ve ever had an abnormal Pap test though, your OB/GYN will likely recommend Pap testing more frequently. Typically, you need routine Pap smears until age 65, or until you’ve had a hysterectomy and had your cervix removed.
The compassionate OB/GYN team at Signature Women’s Healthcare provides comprehensive Pap screenings, often as part of your annual exam. During a Pap smear, your OB/GYN inserts a speculum tool into your vagina to open up your vaginal walls.
Using a small brushlike tool, your OB/GYN carefully scrapes your cervix to gather cells. They place your specimen in a Petri dish and send it off to the lab. If an HPV test is being included with your Pap smear, your OB/GYN needs to gather another quick sampling of cells.
If your Pap is part of your well-woman annual exam, your OB/GYN could do additional screenings like a pelvic exam and a breast exam.
It takes about a week or two for your OB/GYN at Signature Women’s Healthcare to get your Pap results back from the lab. If your results are normal (or negative), you don’t need to do anything further and just continue scheduling your annual exams.
But if your OB/GYN determines that you have abnormal cervical cells (positive results), you’re likely going to need to visit Signature Women’s Healthcare for a follow-up visit. Positive Pap results mean that you might have precancerous or concerning cells, like cervical dysplasia. It doesn’t automatically mean you have cervical cancer.
Your OB/GYN can repeat the Pap test again to verify results or conduct a colposcopy, a highly magnified scope that allows your OB/GYN to get a closer view of your cervix, vagina, and vulva.
If your OB/GYN sees any abnormal lesions during your colposcopy, they can remove tissues for biopsy. Signature Women’s Healthcare providers care for you every step of the way to ensure you receive any screenings and necessary treatments to restore your health.
Book your well-woman exam and Pap smear at Signature Women’s Healthcare directly through the online scheduler. You can also call any office to speak with a team member.