Pap Smear

North Texas OB/GYN -  - OB/GYN

North Texas OB/GYN

OB/GYNs located in Plano, TX

Pap Smear Specialist
A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is a cervical cancer screening tool designed to detect precancerous cells in your cervix. Pap tests are a routine part of women’s healthcare, and getting yours at the recommended times may just save your life. At North Texas OB/GYN in Plano, Texas, the expert team of gynecologists and obstetricians use Pap tests to help women in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area detect cervical cancer early so it can be treated successfully.

Pap Smear

North Texas OB/GYN

What is a Pap smear?

Gynecologists perform Pap smears, or Pap tests, to check your cervix, or the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina, for abnormal cells. Cell changes in your cervix may be an early sign of cervical cancer. When these abnormal cells are found before they turn into cancer cells, however, cervical cancer can almost always be prevented. The Pap test is, therefore, an essential tool in cervical cancer prevention.

Who should get a Pap test?

Getting a Pap test is one of the best things that women of all ages can do to prevent cervical cancer. It’s usually performed as part of a routine pelvic exam and is recommended every three years for women between the ages of 21 and 65. Starting at the age of 30, your doctor at North Texas OB/GYN may recommend that you continue to have a Pap test every three years or begin having a Pap test and an HPV together every five years.

If you have certain risk factors for cervical cancer, your gynecologist may recommend that you have more frequent Pap smears. Having a previous Pap smear that showed precancerous cells, or having a previous diagnosis of cervical cancer, are the main reasons some women should repeat the Pap test more frequently. Your doctor may also advise you to have more frequent Pap smears if:

  • You have a weakened immune system from chemotherapy, an organ transplant, or long-term corticosteroid use
  • You have an HIV infection
  • You were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) while in utero

How is a Pap smear done?

A Pap test is a quick, relatively painless procedure that's performed easily during routine pelvic exams. As you lie on the exam table, your doctor at North Texas OB/GYN inserts a speculum into your vagina. The instrument is used to open your vagina gently so that the cervix is visible. Using a special stick or brush, your doctor then takes a few cells from the surface and inside of your cervix, which are then placed on a slide and tested in a lab. A Pap smear can be slightly uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t feel painful.  

When can I stop having a Pap smear?

If you’re past the age of 65 and you’ve never had an abnormal Pap test, your doctor may agree that you can stop having Pap tests. Likewise, if you’ve had a total hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus as well as the ovaries) that was performed to treat a noncancerous condition, you may be able to discontinue routine Pap tests. If, however, your hysterectomy was done for a precancerous or cancerous condition, your doctor will probably recommend that you continue getting Pap tests.     

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