A Pap smear is a quick and simple procedure during which a number of cells are collected from the cervix. These cells are then sent to a laboratory to check for any changes.
The Pap smear is designed to find early changes in cervical cells which can be treated to prevent cancer developing. These early changes are not cancer, but if they are not monitored or treated appropriately, they may develop into cancer.
Research has shown that the majority of women (three out of four) who develop cervical cancer have not had a Pap smear or have not had one regularly, every two years. Also up to 90% of the most common form of cancer of the cervix could be prevented if all women had regular Pap smears every two years.
All women who have ever had sexual contact should commence having Pap smears between the ages of 18 – 20, or within two years after first sexual contact, whichever is later. This includes male to female and female to female contact. Women can stop having Pap smears at the age of 70, provided they have had two normal Pap smears in the previous five years.
Any of our helpful Doctors here at Gladstone Medical Center would be more than happy to discuss any questions you may have regarding pap smears. Women's Health can be a very specific area and it's good to know that you can see a Doctor that completely understands your issues.