Women benefit from a regular pelvic exam that includes a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer. Vijaya Nama, MD, offers this test conveniently at her family practice to women in Mesquite, Texas. If you’re due for this screening or need more information about how a Pap smear is essential to your reproductive health, call Dr. Nama’s office or book an appointment online.
A Pap smear is usually conducted as part of a regular pelvic exam. Dr. Nama uses a swab to take a small sampling of cells from your cervix -- the opening of the uterus.
These samples are then sent to a laboratory to be tested for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells.
Dr. Nama recommends you get your first Pap smear at age 21 and then every three years after. If you’re 30 or older and had regularly normal results, Dr. Nama may suggest testing just every five years.
Certain risk factors may mean you need more frequent testing. These include:
If you’re a smoker or were exposed to a compound called DES before birth, you may need more regular Pap smears.
If no abnormal cells are detected during your Pap smear, your results are normal or “negative.” No additional treatment or testing is necessary.
If you have abnormal or “positive” results, you may need additional screenings. A positive result doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. Abnormal results may indicate cells that have changed due to the natural aging process or an infection.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) -- the most common sexually transmitted infection -- can also cause abnormal results.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear, Dr. Nama may want to wait and see if the cells resolve on their own. She may order a repeat test a few months later.
In other cases, she may recommend a colposcopy, which is a more detailed examination of your cervix. A colposcopy involves using a special magnifying instrument to get a better look at the tissues of the cervix. If suspicious cells are found, Dr. Nama takes a biopsy – or tissue sample – for further analysis at a laboratory.
If you’re due for a Pap smear, call the office of Dr. Nama to get this important screening test performed. Alternatively, make an appointment using the online tool.