The Importance of Pap Smear
While certainly not the most glamorous topic when it comes to female health, the importance of the pap smear continues to be absolutely vital for women's healthcare. A pap smear, also referred to as a pap test, is a test in which a sampling of cells is taken from a woman's cervix and evaluated, and the function of this test is to look for any changes or irregularities in the cells of the cervix that show cervical cancer, or any of the conditions and warnings signs that may later develop in to cancer. A pap smear is the most effective tool to detect tumors and pre-cancerous conditions that may lead to cervical cancer, and it is made all that much more important by the fact that, if detected early enough, cervical cancer can be cured. As one of the leading members of the health care community in Salinas, California, Health Care For Women is thoroughly prepared to do everything necessary for patients in preventing, detecting, and treating any potential irregularities that are identified during a pap smear.
While today it is a highly common test, were you aware that prior to the introduction of the Pap test, carcinoma (cancer) of the cervix was the leading cause of death in women? While we're lucky that that was then and this is now, this scary information only reinforces the continuing importance that women have this simple, but highly-necessary sample test performed.
While a pap smear is not required for women under 21, a routine pap smear screening is highly-recommended every 2 years for women who are between the ages of 21-29. For certain women who are 30 years + who have had three consecutive normal screening test results, it is considered safe to have a pap smear testing done every three years. Women are advised to wait a few years after they first have intercourse before they start screening, since it takes an average of a year before a woman's immune system to control the initial infection, and there is little to no benefit from screening women who have had no sexual contact, with the screening of women under 25 having shown to not decrease cancer rates under the age of 30.
It is also important that women who have had abnormal pap results should have testing more frequently, and that even if a woman does not need a pap test, she should still have a pelvic exam annually.
To find out more about getting the simple but effective pap smear test at Health Care for Women in Salinas, California, or for any other questions or concerns you may have concerning women's healthcare, please call 831-758-8223, or visit the Health Care for Women website and get in contact today.