20 Apr

What is a Pap Smear and Why Does It Matter?

It’s no secret that men and women have many significant differences, especially when it comes to their reproductive and sexual health. These differences shouldn’t be taken lightly, since they require males and females to seek different types of preventative health services. For women, a pap test checks for cervical cancer, a deadly disease that kills more than 4,000 women a year. As a preventative screening, the pap test or pap smear can identify cervical abnormalities early enough to help women escape the threat of cervical cancer unscathed.

How Is a Pap Smear Performed?

A pap smear is completed by scraping cells from the opening of a woman’s cervix, the lower part of the uterus, and examining them under a microscope. It’s a very quick and easy test that can be completed in under five minutes. Most women are encouraged to receive a pap smear every two to three years from the age of 21, but they are usually not needed after age 70 as long as three negative tests were completed within the past 10 years.

If a pap smear produces abnormal results, further testing is needed to learn more and determine if cancer is a threat. Fortunately, this procedure has helped the cervical cancer death rate decrease by more than 50 percent over the last 40 years. Since the screening can find cancer before it fully develops, the cancer can be easily cured long before it has the chance to become life-threatening.

Get Your Pap Smear Today

If you haven’t received a pap smear in the last few years, there’s no reason to wait any longer. Kavita Rao, M.D. at Gulf Coast Internist is the perfect doctor to handle your female reproductive care. As an internist, Dr. Rao applies scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to prevent, diagnose, treat, and manage a wide spectrum of complex adult diseases. Call (727) 525-0900 to make your first appointment and ensure that you are not at risk of cervical cancer.