Nearly 80% of women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer failed to have a Pap smear in the previous five years, perhaps missing early signs of the disease and the opportunity to eradicate it before it spread. At Elite Gynecology in Manhattan, Dr. Molly McBride uses Pap smears to detect cellular changes that may indicate abnormal cell growth, a precursor to cervical cancer. If you live in New York City and need a Pap smear, call Elite Gynecology today or use the online booking agent to schedule an appointment.
A Pap smear (technically called a Papanicolaou smear after the doctor who created it) screens you for early signs of cervical cancer. Dr. McBride performs this screening tool during your yearly exam by gathering a small number of cells from your cervix to be looked at under a microscope.
Pap smears are rather painless, easy, and quick.
Dr. McBride recommends that most women have a Pap smear every three years between the ages of 21-65. For those who become sexually active before age 21, she may suggest starting the screening procedure earlier.
If you’ve been diagnosed with HPV, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause cervical cancer or had a Pap smear that shows atypical cell growth, Dr. McBride may recommend more frequent Pap testing.
You should schedule your Pap smear when you’re not menstruating. For two days before your Pap, avoid using tampons and douches, vaginal medications, and vaginal contraceptives. You should also abstain from sexual intercourse, as it can make interpreting the Pap smear results more difficult.
Your Pap test normally occurs during your yearly well-woman exam. You’re shown to a room, asked to remove your clothing, and given a gown to wear and a sheet to cover your legs.
After you’ve changed, Dr. McBride knocks on the door and enters. She asks you to lay on your back, move to the end of the exam table, and put your feet into stirrups. She then inserts a speculum (a metal or plastic device) into your vagina and opens it, allowing her to see into your vagina.
She takes a swab-like brush and twists it along your cervix. This brush gathers your cells, which will later be placed on a slide and looked at under a microscope. She may take a second swab.
A pelvic and breast exam usually follow the Pap smear.
In a few days, you’ll hear back from Elite Gynecology with your results. If you had an abnormal Pap smear, treatment options are discussed. Dr. McBride may recommend another Pap in 3-6 months or suggest a LEEP procedure.
Call Elite Gynecology to schedule your Pap smear today, or use the online booking agent.