Pap smears are tests to screen for early indications of cervical cancer and other abnormal cells on the cervix. At Bay OB-GYN, PC, located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, gynecologist Rubin Frenkel, MD, performs your Pap smears every three years during your regular gynecological exams. To schedule your examination, call either the New York City office or book an appointment online today.
A Pap smear or Pap test is a screening for cervical cancer, which starts with abnormal changes to the cells on the cervix. A Pap smear takes place during a routine gynecological exam, which Dr. Frenkel performs for you regularly.
Dr. Frenkel widens your vaginal canal with a speculum so he can view your internal reproductive organs. Then, using a small tool, he gently scrapes a collection of cells from the surface of your cervix. The sample also includes some of the mucus that is naturally present in your uterus.
Your doctor takes the cell sample and smears it on a glass slide, then places that slide under a microscope. He evaluates the cells for unusual changes indicating a risk for cervical cancer. If your results are normal, you won’t need any further testing until it’s time for your next Pap smear.
Your first Pap smear should happen when you’re 21 years old. After that, as long as the results are normal, you don’t need another one until three years later, then every three years until you turn 30.
Once you turn 30, you should talk to Dr. Frenkel about your options. He might suggest you continue Pap smears once every three years as you’ve done in the past, or he might have you get HPV tests every five years. The third option after age 30 is to get co-testing with HPV tests and Pap smears every five years.
You can stop getting Pap smears at age 65 if you’ve had normal Pap test results for several years or if you’ve had cervix removal surgery (trachelectomy).
An abnormal Pap smear does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer or that you will get it. However, it does mean that you need more testing. There are a few different abnormal cell types, and Dr. Frenkel can help you interpret your results. Sometimes, abnormal cells on the cervix come from infections like HPV.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear, Dr. Frenkel may perform a colposcopy to investigate further.
A colposcope, which Dr. Frenkel uses during this test, is a tool with a magnifying lens to examine the cells of your cervix up close. He can also take tissue biopsies from the cervix during a colposcopy, which he sends to a lab for testing.
To schedule your next Pap smear or find out more about abnormal test results, call Bay OB-GYN, PC, or schedule an appointment online today.