Bethel Family Medicine
Family Medicine & Cosmetics Specialists located in Brockton, MA
If you’re a woman between the ages of 21-65, it’s best to safeguard your health by getting a routine Pap smear. With a focus on women’s wellness, Bethel Family Medicine offers preventive care like Pap smears and other cancer screenings in a compassionate, welcoming setting. If it’s time for your Pap smear, call the practice in Brockton, Massachusetts, today or book a consultation online.
Pap Smear Q & A
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a common, quick procedure to look for signs of cervical cancer in women. The procedure involves collecting cervical cells from your cervix, the narrow opening to your uterus found above your vagina.
If you’re between 21-65 years old, doctors typically recommend you get a Pap smear every three years. The test may be accompanied by a test for human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer in women.
What happens during a Pap smear?
First, you undress from the waist down and wear a gown as you recline on an exam table. Your provider inserts a small, soft brush into your vagina. The brush gathers a small sample of cells from your cervix. The entire process takes just a minute or two. You can dress and get back to your usual activities afterward.
Your cell sample is sent to a lab to test for precancerous or cancerous cells. If the results are abnormal, Bethel Family Medicine contacts you to follow up.
What if my Pap smear is abnormal?
Abnormal results can be caused by irritation and other factors, and don’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. Your provider at Bethel Family Medicine thoroughly explains your results.
Your provider may mention the following:
- Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS): These type of cells suggest an unclear cause and results in a follow-up HPV test.
- Squamous intraepithelial lesion: These cells suggest a risk of precancerous cells.
- Squamous cell cancer or adenocarcinoma cells: These results are a red flag for the presence of cancer.
Depending on your results, your provider talks with you about next steps, such as additional tests like a colposcopy.
When do I need a colposcopy?
If your Pap test is abnormal, your provider may recommend a simple in-office procedure called a colposcopy. A colposcopy involves a special magnifying device that allows your provider to examine your cervix more clearly and take tissue samples. By taking tissue samples, your provider can more carefully assess your risk for cervical cancer.
If it’s been a while since your last Pap test, you can rely on Bethel Family Medicine for comprehensive women’s health care. Call today or book a consultation online.
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