Covid backlogs have meant that many people have missed their regular cervical cancer screening appointments. Dr. Elena Moore, ND offers pap smears at the clinic to anyone who is in need of a screening.
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is a screening test that can detect abnormal cells in the cervix before they become cancerous.
Why are pap smears important?
Cervical cancer typically has no symptoms until later stages of the disease, when it is much harder to treat. If cervical cancer is caught at its earliest or precancerous stage, the chance of survival is up to 85%.
Pap smears screen for these abnormal or precancerous cervical cells. If abnormal cells are found and treated early, cervical cancer can be prevented.
Who should have a pap smear done?
Anyone with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 69 should have regular screening every 3 years – this can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by up to 70%. You can stop getting pap smears after age 69 if your results have always been normal. If you have symptoms of cervical cancer such as abnormal vaginal bleeding (i.e. in between periods, during or after sex, or after menopause), abnormal or persistent vaginal discharge, or pelvic pain or pain during sex, then you should seek screening, regardless of your age.
What to expect during a pap smear.
The test involves inserting a speculum into the vaginal canal and using a spatula or brush to collect a sample of cells from the cervix. These cells are then examined under a microscope to screen for abnormal or precancerous cells.
Abnormal results don't mean that you have cancer – the goal with screening tests such as the pap is to detect and treat abnormal cells before they become cancerous.
Have more questions about pap smears? Book in with Dr. Elena Moore, ND for a free 15 min meet and greet.