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Pap Smear / Cervical Cancer Screening

A Pap smear (short for Papanicolaou) is a test done to screen for cervical cancer. In most women, it is recommended that it be obtained once per year.

Cervical cancer is a common gynecological cancer, and in most cases is preventable. The prevention is via obtaining a Pap test once a year (or more commonly in cases of abnormal prior history). Cervical cancer first passes through a pre-cancer stage, called cervical dysplasia. It is during this time that a Pap smear catches the abnormal cells from the cervix, and treatment can easily be given before it can progress to cervical cancer.

The cause for this cancer is an infection by HPV, short for Human Papilloma Virus. HPV is a virus that is transmitted sexually, and is actually very commonly found in adults and adolescents that are sexually active. Usually this infection is self limiting, meaning it does not cause any harm to the woman. However, depending on the strain of the virus as well as the genetics and immune response of the person, it can cause changes in cells that can eventually lead to cancer of the cervix.

Obtaining a Papanicolaou screen is done during an easy pelvic exam by a gynecologist. If the sample is abnormal, someone with experience and training in managing abnormal cervical cytology, such as a qualified gynecologist will then perform a colposcopy, obtain a cervical biopsy, and treat the abnormal cells if needed.

We offer cervical cancer screening, as well as colposcopy and treatment of dysplasia (abnormal pre-cancer cells of the cervix) if needed.