Due to the inclusion of routine Pap smears during a woman’s gynecological exam, rates of cervical cancer have decreased significantly. If you can’t remember the last time you had a Pap smear, then it’s time to contact board-certified OB/GYN Zohren Nikkhah Abyaneh, MD, at Woodbridge Obstetrics & Gynecology in Woodbridge, Virginia, to schedule your screening. Call the office or book online today.
A Pap smear is a medical screening tool that closely examines your cervical cells to assess risk for cervical cancer. About 40 years ago, cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. However, now that the Pap smear is a regular part of a gynecological exam, rates of cervical cancer are on the decline.
The test looks for abnormalities in your cervical cells that may indicate early signs of cancer. Finding changes in your cells early improves your chances of a cure.
Dr. Nikkhah Abyaneh determines when you should get a Pap smear. In general, all women over the age of 21 should have a Pap smear every three years until age 65. However, you may need more frequent Pap smears if abnormal cells were found on a previous test, you tested positive for human papillomavirus (HPV), or you have a family history of cervical cancer.
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Certain strains of HPV increase your risk of cervical cancer. At age 30, Dr. Nikkhah Abyaneh may suggest an HPV test in addition to your Pap smear. If your HPV test is negative, you can delay your next Pap smear up to five years.
Dr. Nikkhah Abyaneh conducts your Pap smear during a pelvic exam. The test is quick and relatively painless.
During your Pap smear, Dr. Nikkhah Abyaneh has you sit on the gynecological table with your knees bent. She inserts a speculum into your vagina to separate the tissue. Using either a soft brush or scraping tool, she gently collects cells from your cervix.
You may feel some cramping as Dr. Nikkhah Abyaneh retrieves her sample, but the discomfort is fleeting. After your Pap smear, you can resume your usual activities.
Most Pap smears come back negative. However, if your Pap smear results indicate abnormal cells, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. Dr. Nikkhah Abyaneh recommends additional testing to further evaluate your cervix for tissue changes and conducts a biopsy for further tissue evaluation.
A Pap smear is a routine exam that can save your life. Call Woodbridge Obstetrics & Gynecology or request an appointment online to schedule your Pap smear today.