A Pap smear is a test done to check for cervical cancer. It’s recommended that women have their first Pap smear at age 21 and again every three years. A Pap smear is typically done in conjunction with an internal pelvic exam. Our qualified team of providers at WHASN Meadows, which has multiple offices in and around Las Vegas, Nevada, is skilled in performing Pap smears for women of all ages and needs. Call our office today or schedule an appointment online.
A Pap smear involves taking a sample of cells from the cervix and testing them for cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of your uterus at the top of your vagina. The sample is taken by inserting a speculum into the vagina and swabbing the inside of the cervix. The procedure only takes a few minutes to perform and involves minimal discomfort.
By having a Pap smear, the chances of detecting cervical cancer early are high. This gives you a greater chance of a cure. If your Pap smear results are abnormal, your doctor may recommend further testing and may want to perform a biopsy procedure or sample tissue from your cervix for more definitive results.
A Pap smear only takes a couple of minutes to perform and can be done in your doctor’s office. You will be asked to undress from the waist down before the procedure. You’ll then lie back on the table with your knees bent and your heels supported in rests called stirrups.
Your doctor will insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. Speculums can be made of either plastic or metal. The speculum helps hold the walls of the vagina open so our doctor can see your cervix more clearly.
You may feel some mild pressure as the speculum is inserted. The doctor will then take samples of your cervix using a soft brush. Some women feel mild discomfort, while others don’t feel much of anything.
If your results are negative, that means that no abnormal cells were detected. It’s recommended to get another test in three years or earlier if any issues arise.
If abnormal cells were present, that means your results are positive. However, that doesn’t mean you are positive for cervical cancer. Here are some positive results and their meanings:
This means there are some abnormal squamous cells on the surface of the cervix, but they don’t suggest precancerous cells are present.
This indicates precancerous cells. Cancer is likely years away from developing if the changes are low grade. If high grade, the cancer could come on much sooner.
These cells appear abnormal, but further testing is required to see if they are cancerous.
This refers to cancer on the surface cells of the cervix or in the glandular cells.
Your doctor will thoroughly review your results with you after a Pap smear and reassure you if anything appears abnormal. They may want to repeat the Pap smear or have you go for further testing.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your Pap smear, call us at one of our locations nearest you or reach out online.