The National Institute of Health credits regular Pap smears as the main reason behind the 40-year decline of cervical cancer, which used to be a leading cause of cancer death in American women. Anita E. Gonzalez, MD, at Montecristo Medical Group, provides Pap smears to detect early signs of cervical cancer and other vaginal infections to the women of Van Nuys, California. To learn more about Pap smears and their benefits, call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment today.
A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a diagnostic procedure that checks for cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) in women.
During the test, a tool called a speculum is used to collect cells from your cervix to detect any abnormalities and take early action against possibly developing cervical cancer.
Regular Pap smears can save your life, since the chances of curing cervical cancer are much higher if you catch it early. If your test detects any precancerous cells, these can be removed before they develop into full-blown cancer.
If you’re between the ages of 21 and 65, Dr. Gonzalez recommends getting a Pap smear every three years as part of your regular women’s health exam. Even patients who aren’t sexually active and those who’ve gone through menopause benefit from getting regular Pap smears.
If you have a history of cancer, a weak immune system, or other risk factors, Dr. Gonzalez may suggest more frequent Pap smears.
Some women find Pap smears uncomfortable but not unbearably so, and the test is usually over in about 5 minutes. You may feel some pressure as the speculum goes into your vagina, but this shouldn’t be painful.
If your Pap smear hurts or you’re worried that it will hurt, talk to Dr. Gonzalez who can offer the right support and help you be as comfortable as possible.
Until recently, doctors required patients to get a Pap smear before prescribing birth control. This is no longer common practice and at Dr. Anita E. Gonzalez, MD, you aren’t required to get a Pap smear in order to get a birth control prescription.
However, even though it isn’t required, Dr. Gonzalez still recommends a Pap smear before going on birth control if you:
It’s a good idea to see Dr. Gonzalez if you’re having sex, thinking about having sex, or are concerned about something else regarding your body. Talk to Dr. Gonzalez and she can help guide you on whether or not you require a Pap smear today.
Call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make your appointment today.