Pap smears are a routine part of most women’s lives, but they can also be scary. You may have heard that not getting pap smears is dangerous or that they don’t test for cancer. But both of these statements are wrong! A pap smear is the best way to find cervical cancer in the earliest, most treatable stages —and it doesn’t hurt a bit! So why should you care about it?
Could you not put it off?
Could you not put it off? The pap smear is not a one-time test. Regular pap smears are essential, even if you’re feeling healthy and in good shape.
The pap smear is not a diagnostic test; it’s the best way to find cervical cancer in the earliest, most treatable stages of development.
Don’t be embarrassed.
The Pap smear test is a routine screening test that helps detect cervical cancer and precancerous changes in the cervix. It isn’t invasive, it doesn’t cause any pain, and it’s not embarrassing. Most women find that they can relax during the exam because there’s nothing to worry about—the doctor will take a small sample of cells from inside your vagina with a swab or some other tool (like a speculum) to get at all those cells you have been protecting from unwanted visitors for so long!
Pap smear tests are simple, safe procedures that can be performed at a gynecologist’s office or by your doctor if you have one.
There are two main steps to getting ready for the test:
- Preparing for your exam by scheduling it ahead of time. Ask questions about what will happen during the exam and how long it will take before making sure you are comfortable with them answering those questions (as well as any other concerns). This can help ensure that no surprises come up on the day of testing!
- Getting ready physically once it’s time for the actual procedure—including getting into some particular clothes so as not to ruin clothes made explicitly for medical purposes (and thus needing washing afterward!). It’s crucial here, too, because having already prepared yourself mentally beforehand means less stress later down the road when things don’t go according to plan due to potentially having worn clothes wrong the first time around.”
Pap smear is preventive —not diagnostic.
Pap smear tests are used to screen for abnormal cells in the cervix. The test isn’t used to diagnose cervical cancer but may indicate tumors that need further testing.
Pap smears are not diagnostic tests and don’t provide a definitive answer about your disease status or the best treatment option for you and our doctor to choose from. They check whether abnormal tissue is present in the cervix (the lower part of your uterus). Suppose there are abnormal cells detected on a pap smear test. In that case, it’s recommended that you have another difficulty called “cervical biopsy,” done by a specialist who performs advanced procedures like removing samples from inside this area of skin tissue where cancerous cells could lurk undetected by regular doctors who only perform simple Pap Smear tests.
It doesn’t hurt a bit!
If you’re worried about being uncomfortable during your annual pap smear, don’t! It’s a painless test, and there are no risks involved. You will not feel any discomfort or bleeding; however, some women experience cramping or pressure on the cervix when they have their first pap smear. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
Best way to find cervical cancer in the earliest
A Pap smear is the best way to find cervical cancer in the earliest, most treatable stages. It’s essential to get your pap smear done regularly. If you have a cervix and are over 30 years old, you should get it every year—even if our doctor says, that’s okay for now (or for as long as you live). If you don’t know when it was last performed, ask them when they can fit one into your schedule next time.
Our doctor will also want to know about any recent changes in health or behavior that may affect their accuracy:
- Smoking cessation.
- Quitting drinking alcohol.
- Hormone replacement therapy.
- Pregnancy and childbirth.
- Weight loss or gain (to name a few).
- Sexual activity with partners who have had more than two partners since 1975 (since then, more research has been done on sexually transmitted diseases).
Contact our doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your pap smear. The sooner you ask, the earlier they can find out what’s happening and treat it. You can find a clinic that offers a sliding scale for payment, so you can still get your pap smear without worrying about how much it will cost. This means they will charge you according to your income, so you don’t have to worry about how much money you make.