When it comes to preventive care, a Pap smear is the most valuable tool you have in the fight against cervical cancer. At City Care Family Practice, the team of healthcare practitioners is equipped to perform regular Pap smears for their female patients in Lower Midtown on the east side of Manhattan in New York. To learn more about this fast and easy screening tool, call or use the online form to schedule an appointment.
A Pap smear is an incredibly simple test in which your healthcare provider takes a swab of your cervix to check for any abnormal cell changes. The test is noninvasive, painless, and takes only minutes.
Cervical cancer used to be one of the deadliest cancers among women, but since the widespread use of the Pap test, those numbers have fallen, and just over 13,000 women are diagnosed each year in the United States.
A Pap test is designed to detect cell changes, or precancerous cells, which can be treated before they develop into full-blown cancer.
Your Pap test delivers one of two readings: All cells are normal or there are abnormal cells present. If your test reveals the presence of abnormal cells, there’s no cause for immediate alarm.
The existence of abnormal cells is mostly attributed to the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, so common that most sexually active people will have some form of the infection during their lives.
Typically, HPV is mild enough that your body fights the infection on its own and you only become aware of the infection through a Pap test. If you do show any outward signs, these usually take the form of genital warts, which the healthcare providers at City Care Family Practice can easily treat.
So, if your results come back showing the presence of abnormal cells, it doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it does mean that your cervix bears closer monitoring.
The frequency with which you should be tested depends upon your age, your lifestyle, and your previous results. The government guidelines state that women should be tested every three years between the ages of 21 and 29. From 30-64, you should get a Pap test and HPV test every five years. After 65, you can discuss with your healthcare provider how often you should come in for testing, if at all.
Of course, if your test results show the presence of abnormal cells, your provider at City Care Family Practice will want to see you more frequently for retesting to track these cells.
To schedule your Pap test, call City Care Family Practice, or use the online scheduler to book an appointment.