PAP SMEARS Q & A
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear, sometimes referred to as a Pap test, is a screening tool used to detect abnormal cervical cells and to prevent cervical cancer.
An estimated 500,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year around the world making it the most common type of the gynecological cancer in the world. In America, the incidence of invasive cervical cancer and cervical cancer deaths are very rare after the Pap smear testing became a common part of women’s health care.
What happens during a Pap smear?
Your Pap smear is conducted during a pelvic exam. A small brush is used to collect a sample of cells from your cervix.
The collected cells are then sent to a lab where a technician examines them under a microscope to check for any abnormalities. If there are signs of cancerous changes, Dr. Kandinov asks you to return to the office for additional screening – colposcopy. During this procedure more detailed and targeted biopsies of the cervix are performed.
What role does HPV testing play in the Pap smear process?
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of more than 100 related viruses, some of which cause the vast majority of cervical cancers. HPV is a very common virus, and almost everyone will contract and fight off infection at some point in their lives. HPV testing is an important part of cervical cancer screening. Low-risk and high-risk HPV subtypes exist. The presence of high risk forms of the virus indicate an elevated risk of developing abnormal cervical cells.
Vaccinations are available that can protect you against HPV infection. These are administered to teenagers before they become sexually active. To learn more about Pap smear and HPV screening, schedule a well-woman exam with Dr. Kandinov today. You can set up your visit online or by phone.