Pap Smear Specialist

Cervical cancer can be cured when it’s caught at an early stage with a Pap smear. The doctors at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine recommend routine preventive pelvic exams and Pap smears so that you can have the peace of mind knowing that you don’t have cervical cancer. If you haven’t had a Pap smear in the last three years, call their office in the Midtown East area of New York City, or schedule an appointment online.

Pap Smear Q & A

Who should get a Pap smear?

A Pap smear screens for cervical cancer. Your doctor at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine uses a scraper or brush to take tissue from your cervix, then it’s sent to a laboratory where trained technicians check for precancerous or cancerous cellular changes.

When you follow the recommended schedule and consistently have Pap smears over the years, precancerous changes can be identified early and treated before they grow into cancer. It’s important to follow this schedule to be sure you catch cervical cancer at the earliest possible stage: (see Ref 1, para 2)

  • Women aged 21-29: Pap smear every three years
  • Women aged 30-65: Pap test and HPV test every five years or a Pap test alone every three years

What causes cervical cancer?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer. The type of HPV that develops into cancer is transmitted during sexual intercourse with someone who’s infected with HPV.

You can get the HPV virus and not develop health problems, because your immune system stops the virus. When the virus manages to invade healthy cells in the cervix, it makes them grow too quickly, gradually changing into precancerous cells then progressing to become cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

At the early stage, you won’t have symptoms. As cancer affects surrounding tissues and begins to spread you may experience:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (longer, heavier, between periods, or after menopause)
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex

What happens if you have an abnormal Pap smear?

The cervical cells on the Pap smear are graded based on the changes in their size and shape. Their grade determines the next step. You may be able to wait for a period of time then return for a repeat screening, or you may need to have an HPV test to screen for the types of HPV known to cause cancer.

When the test results are cause for concern, you’ll need to have a colposcopy. A colposcope is a special instrument used to give your doctor a close view of tissues in your vagina and cervix and to perform a biopsy to verify your diagnosis.

How are abnormal cervical cells treated?

When a tissue biopsy verifies abnormal cervical cells, one of the following procedures may be done:

  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): electrical current is used to remove tissue
  • Cryotherapy: abnormal tissues are destroyed by freezing
  • Laser therapy: intense light beam is used to destroy abnormal cells
  • Conization: a cone-shaped piece of cervix containing the abnormal cells is removed

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