Within three years of becoming sexually active or starting at the age of 21, all women should get a Pap smear at least every three years. Jacqueline Bracy, MD, uses this screening tool in her Glendora, California, office to detect abnormal cervical cells that could lead to cervical cancer, because early detection leads to the best prognosis. Call the office to book an appointment for a Pap smear today.
A Pap smear is a test that examines your cervix for abnormal cells, including both precancerous and cancerous cells.
During the process of collecting cells for the Pap smear, you lie on a table with your feet in stirrups. Dr. Bracy uses a speculum to widen your vaginal walls, and with a swab takes a sample of your cervical cells. During the procedure, you may have some discomfort, but it usually goes away shortly after the procedure.
Dr. Bracy sends the cells to a lab for testing. She will then notify the patient if a follow-up visit or repeat pap is needed once the results are received.
A Pap test gives either a positive or negative result. A positive result means you have abnormal cells while a negative result means abnormal cells are not present.
An abnormal Pap smear doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. It could indicate you have an infection, inflammation, or cells that could lead to cancer. Possible causes of positive results are:
If your Pap test is abnormal, Dr. Bracy recommends further testing, such as a colposcopy. A colposcopy is similar to a Pap smear, but Dr. Bracy uses a colposcope, a special magnifying device, to examine your cervix and biopsy a small amount of its tissue. The test only takes between 5-10 minutes and can diagnose conditions like genital warts and cervical cancer.
After Dr. Bracy gets the results of your colposcopy, she’s able to determine if you need further testing. For instance, she may recommend a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
When you undergo a LEEP procedure, Dr. Bracy uses a heated wire loop to remove abnormal cells from your cervix for testing. She can diagnose abnormal or cancerous cells from the test results.
Based on the results, Dr. Bracy advises you on a course of action for your specific condition. For instance, if an STD is detected, she provides you with the necessary treatment, such as an antibiotic.
Schedule a routine Pap smear test with Dr. Bracy by calling her office today.