Thanks to Pap tests, cervical cancer is no longer the leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Sagar Patel, MD, OBGYN is a strong proponent of preventive medicine and offers pap tests to women at all stages of life at his private practice in Holmdel, New Jersey. To be proactive about preventing cervical cancer, call or click online to schedule a Pap test with Dr. Patel today.
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is a way for Dr. Patel to screen for cervical cancer by examining the cells on your cervix. It’s similar to a throat culture test for strep but in a different part of your body.
Pap tests allow Dr. Patel to detect any changes in your cervical cells that might turn into cancer, which is why they’re a crucial part of preventive care.
Dr. Patel may perform a pap smear at the same time as your pelvic exam. For the screening, you undress completely and wear a disposable exam gown. You lay on your back your feet in stirrups of the exam table while Dr. Patel checks your vagina and cervix.
He inserts an instrument called a speculum into your vagina and then widens it to gently spread your vaginal walls so he can see your cervix. Then he takes a sample of cervical cells using a tiny spatula. These cells get cultured and examined under a microscope to make sure they’re healthy.
Pap tests take about 10-20 minutes and shouldn’t hurt, but you may feel some pressure. Deep, relaxing breaths make it easier.
Afterward, you should be able to go about your day as usual but may experience some light spotting.
Before getting a Pap smear, it’s important to refrain from the following for 24 hours beforehand:
A few days after your Pap test, Dr. Patel calls to let you know if the results were negative or positive. Negative results are a good thing and mean there were no abnormalities found in your cervical cells. If results are negative, you won’t need another Pap smear until your next scheduled exam.
Positive results don’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer, but they do mean Dr. Patel wants to do further testing to make sure. He may suggest you get another pap test a few months later. If cells still look abnormal then, he may perform a colposcopy (a small biopsy of the tissue on your cervix).
Pap tests are key to detecting cervical cancer early enough to do something about it. If you’re due for a routine Pap test, don’t delay, call or click online to book an appointment with Dr. Patel today.