A Pap smear is a simple diagnostic test that detects the earliest signs of cervical cancer in women. At De Castro & Basit, MDs, in Hanford, California, Dr. Jacqueline G. De Castro and Dr. Jasper F. Basit are primary care physicians who provide Pap smears for women as part of a routine pelvic exam. To find out how often you should get a Pap smear, based on your age and health history, call the office to schedule an appointment or book online. It could save your life.
A Pap smear is a test that screens your cervix for the presence of abnormal cells that could lead to cervical cancer. It’s important to note that even if you have abnormal Pap smear results, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. Typically, Dr. De Castro and Dr. Basit include Pap tests during an exam for women who are 21 and older.
You need a Pap smear at least once every three years between the ages of 21 and 65. And, if you’re over 30, you may want to consider a Pap test combined with a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
If you have a family history of cervical cancer, multiple sex partners, or have had a sexually transmitted infection, you may need to get a Pap smear more frequently than the average recommendation.
A Pap smear takes just a few minutes as part of a routine women’s wellness and internal pelvic exam. While you’re lying comfortably on the exam table, your doctor takes samples of cells from your cervix using a small brush. You may feel some pressure from the instrument during a Pap test, but it usually doesn’t hurt.
After the test, you can go about your daily activities as planned. Once the laboratory interprets the sample of cells from your cervix, your doctor will let you know the results. If the cells are normal, you need no further testing.
If the cells are abnormal, it doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it may mean you need further testing to determine the underlying cause. Pap smears are important because early detection of unusual cells means your doctor will be aware of any developing conditions and be able to recommend the most effective treatments, potentially preventing further complications.
If you have HPV, the virus may cause precancerous cells in your cervix. A Pap test can help your doctor determine if abnormal cells in your cervix are the result of HPV — a sexually transmitted virus.
Drs. De Castro and Basit are committed to taking care of your health needs and understand you may feel apprehensive or concerned about the results of your Pap smear. They are there to help you every step of the way and recommend additional testing or treatments.
To schedule a Pap smear as part of your women’s wellness exam, call the office or go online to request an appointment.