Pap Smears in Washington, DC
A pap smear or pap test is a medical diagnostic procedure used to detect cancer and other issues in the female reproductive system. For women of a certain age, this test may be performed every few years.
Pap smears are an important part of women's health and wellness. Request more information about how to schedule a pap test: (703) 327-2434 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online.
What is a Pap Smear?
The term “pap test” is short for Papanicolaou test and is a test designed to detect cervical cancer in women. The Pap smear is most often performed by gynecologists, obstetricians or OB/GYNs.
The Pap smear may not be right for all women. The American Cancer Society recommends that this procedure begin to be performed at age 21, as the potential harm of the procedure may outweigh the benefits if done before that age.
Generally, the guidelines for how often a pap smear should be performed are:
- Women under Age 21: No test necessary.
- Women Ages 21 - 29: Every three years.
- Women 30 - 60: Every three years, or every five years when combined with a test for the human papilloma virus (HPV).
- Women 65 and older: No further pap testing required.
No Pap smear testing is required for women have had a total hysterectomy or women in their early twenties who have never had sexual contact.
How Do Pap Smears Work?
The Pap smear test itself takes just a short amount of time. When approaching a Pap smear appointment, it's important to avoid sexual intercourse. In order to avoid discomfort and false positives, the Pap test should not be performed during the menstrual period.
During the test:
- Utilizing special supports known as “stirrups”, the legs are raised and bent.
- A small device known as a speculum is inserted in to the vaginal canal.
- The speculum separates the walls of the vagina so that the cervix, which is located in the back, can be seen easily.
- Samples of cervical cells are taken using a small brush or flat device.
The test features no downtime and daily activities can resume immediately after. The cervical cells need to be taken to a laboratory where they are then analyzed for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.
Request Pap Test Information Today
Many women feel uncomfortable about receiving a pap smear, but the early-detection of cervical cancer is crucial. Request more information about pap smears today: call (703) 327-2434 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online.
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