Malibu Medical Group
Internal Medicine & Addiction Medicine located in Malibu, CA
Pap smears can detect signs of cervical cancer in women before serious complications arise. At Malibu Medical Group in Malibu, California, the experienced medical team of doctors and nurses complete women’s wellness checkups, including Pap tests if necessary, to screen for cervical cancer and other pelvic abnormalities. Call to schedule an appointment for a Pap test today, or use the online scheduler.
Pap Smear Q & A
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is a procedure your doctor completes as part of a pelvic exam to screen for cervical cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that causes cervical cancer.
Your cervix is the lower part of your uterus, or womb, that’s attached to the top of the vagina. During a Pap test, your provider scrapes cells from the opening of your cervix and sends the sample to a lab for analysis.
What should I expect during a Pap smear?
When you arrive at your appointment at Malibu Medical Group for a wellness check-up and Pap test, your provider reviews your medical history and symptoms and asks about your last menstrual period. You’ll get undressed and wear a gown prior to your examination.
During a pelvic exam, you’ll lie on an exam table with your knees bent and feet in stirrups. Your doctor inserts a speculum into your vagina to hold vaginal walls open and expose the cervix.
You may feel slight pressure during this part of the procedure. She then takes a sample of cells by scraping your cervix and sends it to a lab for review.
What happens if I have cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is often caused by the HPV virus, which is a sexually transmitted disease. Some women’s bodies fight off HPV infection, but in other cases, the virus can lead to cervical cancer.
When caught early, your provider can surgically remove abnormal cervical cells before they turn into cancer.
Cervical cancer is highly treatable, but it causes serious complications when undetected. You might not notice symptoms of cervical cancer at first, but you eventually may experience pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding.
Advanced stages of cervical cancer can be life-threatening and require surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or combinations of several treatments.
How often should I have a Pap smear?
Your doctor lets you know how often to schedule a Pap smear based on your lifestyle, medical history, and age. She may encourage you to get screened for cervical cancer or HPV every three to five years, or not at all if you’re over age 65 and in good health.
When you’re ready to schedule a preventive wellness exam to make sure you’re in good health and rule out cervical cancer, call Malibu Medical Group today, or schedule an appointment online.