A Pap test, or a Pap smear, is an exam your doctor uses to test for cervical cancer in women. It can also reveal changes in your cervical cells that may result in cancer later on if proper treatment is not urgently sought.
Pap tests can be uncomfortable, but Dr. Dotson ensures that all of her patients are treated with the utmost care and compassion. Pap tests begin with you lying down on an exam table and placing your feet firmly in stirrups.
You’ll then spread your legs to allow Dr. Dotson to put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum will open your vaginal walls so that Dr. Dotson can properly examine your cervix.
Next, Dr. Dotson will swab a sample of cells from your cervix. These cells are then placed on a glass slide and sent to a lab for testing.
It’s a simple and quick test that only lasts about 10 minutes. Even though a Pap test can be mildly uncomfortable, it should not be painful. It’s common to experience some spotting afterward.
Most of the time, your test results will come back negative. That means Dr. Dotson didn’t find any unusual or strange cells in your cervix sample.
If your test shows that something might be wrong or abnormal, Dr. Dotson will contact you to schedule more tests to help determine the problem.
There are many reasons your Pap test results might be abnormal, so don’t jump to the conclusion that you have cervical cancer. Abnormal results could mean you have inflammation or minor cell changes, which may require coming back for another test in six months.
A Pap test can save your life because it can detect early signs of cervical cancer. If caught early, the chance of successful treatment of cervical cancer is very high. Pap tests can also find abnormal cervical cells before they turn into cancer cells. Treating these abnormal cells can help prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing.
Getting a Pap test is one of the best things you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Call Dr. Dotson today or book an appointment online to schedule your next Pap test.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!