If you haven’t had a pap smear yet, it’s something you should consider. All women should have one beginning at the age of 21. After that, it should happen every few years until you are older. If you are considered at risk, you may need to have this simple test more often. A pap smear is vital in helping your gynecologist to monitor your cervix for the presence of abnormal cells. Your doctor is on the lookout for any signs of cervical cancer. The earlier problems are caught, the easier it will be to treat your condition.
Why You Need to Catch Abnormalities Early
Cancers that affect the reproductive system are sneaky. Women typically don’t have any symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. When cancer becomes advanced, it is much harder to cure the disease. As such, it is worth it to stay on top of your reproductive health. In addition to performing your pap smear to see if you have abnormal cells, your doctor may also test you for HPV, or human papillomavirus. This virus has been linked to the development of cervical cancer. If your doctor finds anything out of the ordinary, you’ll move on to the next step.
What Happens if Your Pap Smear Results are Abnormal?
If there is a problem with your pap smear results, your doctor will determine the best plan of action. In some cases, it may be suggested that you are monitored closely, especially if you only have HPV. If you have cancerous cells, removing them could be the best solution. In more advanced cases, your cervix may need to be removed. Full hysterectomies are recommended in more severe cases of cervical cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation are additional steps that can be taken to help you to fight the disease. Your treatment will depend on the stage of the disease.
A Pap Smear is a Preventative Measure
The most important thing you can remember is your pap smear is preventative. It’s intended to keep tabs on your health to make sure everything is in good shape. However, it can also help you to be proactive if there is a problem. For further information, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with Aurora OB-GYN! At our convenient location in San Antonio, our caring and dedicated team of professionals will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!