pap smear

Am I Old Enough? When You Should Start Getting a Pap Smear

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A Pap smear is a very important procedure for a woman to do in order to check for risks of cervical cancer. Most women get the procedure done after a certain age. But what is the right age to ask your doctor for a Pap smear? Also, if you are not sexually active, do you still need to get a Pap smear? There is a right age for young women to begin to get Pap smears. Pap smear results are a great way for doctors to do early cancer detection.

What Is the Right Age for a Pap Smear?

A Pap smear is the screening process of cells of the cervix that a doctor will scrap from the lower portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The right age to begin getting a Pap smear done is 21 years old. The doctor will recommend that you get a Pap smear every three to five years. A Pap smear result could detect HPV, which is important for monitoring cervical cancer. Early prevention of cervical cancer can save a woman from cancer spreading.

What if I am not sexually active?

Being sexually active isn’t the only way for you to be able to get a Pap smear. A Pap smear can be performed on someone that is still not sexually active. They may have a lesser risk of getting cervical cancer, but it is still good to check in order to check if there are potentially early signs of cervical cancer or the presence of HPV. You can ask your doctor if a Pap smear is recommended. You still need to be over 21 in order to begin getting a Pap smear done. If you are not comfortable getting a Pap smear while not being sexually active, your doctor may recommend different options for cancer detection.

Schedule Your Pap Smear

If you are over 21 years of age, plan to have your first Pap smear soon to check on early detection of cervical cancer. The doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care will walk you through your first Pap smear with care. Schedule your Pap smear today!

The Results Are in: What Doctors Can Tell from Pap Smear Results

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During your visit to your gynecologist, they may have informed you that they will be performing a pap smear that day. You have always wondered what the pap smear actually shows in the results. Pap smear results could show doctors many things and could be a preventative way to check for certain diseases, such as HPV and Cervical cancer. If the results come out unusual, additional procedures will be recommended such as a colposcopy.

What Your Doctor Can Learn from Your Pap Smear Results

A pap smear is the most simple way for a doctor to detect and prevent diseases from spreading further than they need to. A pap smear is very important for women to receive in order to detect major cancers and viruses.

What is a pap smear?

A pap smear is a screening procedure where the doctor will scrape cells from the cervix, the lower area of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina in order to keep the vaginal walls open. The pap smear results will show whether or not there is a presence of precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. The age to begin getting a pap smear is 21 years old.

Pap smear results

Pap smear results will usually come in within a couple of days. There are two important detections that doctors will look for in the results, the detection of HPV, or human papillomavirus, and cervical cancer. If your test comes out negative, that is actually a good thing, as it shows that the results don’t show any precancerous cells in the cervix. If the test comes back positive, then there are abnormal cells present. It may not be cancer automatically, as it could just be just slight inflammation or minor cell change. Your doctor may ask for you to have another pap smear done in a few months to see if it clears up. If your results are still positive after a second pap smear, then the doctor will take more tests, such as a colposcopy. The colposcopy is when the doctor will use a special magnifying device look at your vagina, cervix, and vulva.

Plan Your Pap Smear Today

Pap smears are performed every three to five years. If you are due for a pap smear, let the doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care take care of you and help you through your pap smear results. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Ways to Participate in Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 2017

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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. At this time every year (and in the following months), we are on the mission to spread knowledge and education about this highly preventable disease. Here are some ways you can participate in cervical cancer awareness.

What Is Cervical Cancer?

Each year, experts estimate that 13,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. This cancer starts in the cervix, or the lower part of the uterus that leads to the vagina, or birth canal. Although many women are affected by cervical cancer, it is highly preventable with screenings, in the form of a pap smear and HPV vaccinations.

What Can I Do for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month?

cervical cancer awareness monthLearn about cervical cancer

One of the biggest aspects of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is education. You can get involved in the comfort of your home by learning more about the disease. It’s important for women everywhere to know how cervical cancer starts, how to prevent it, and how to cope with a diagnosis.

Spread the word online

Once you learn some interesting information or read an informative article about cervical cancer, share it with your friends and family online. Join the conversation about this women’s cancer by using the hashtag, #CervicalHealthMonth.

Get an HPV vaccination

Take the time to care for yourself this Cervical Health Month. Get an HPV vaccination to reduce your risk of cervical cancer. This vaccination can prevent infection from that can lead to cervical cancer or genital warts. HPV vaccinations are available to patients as young as 12. The great thing about getting this vaccination early is that it allows for a stronger immune response during the preteen years.

Schedule your annual pap test

Next on your list should be a cervical cancer screening. Doctors perform these screenings in the form of a pelvic exam and pap smear to better understand your risk of cancer. Your doctor will closely examine your cervix to detect any changes that could be caused by HPV and lead to cervical cancer.

Make it a goal to keep track of your women’s health by getting these tests done every year. Also, communicate with your doctor about any changes or abnormal symptoms you notice.

Volunteer

Last, you can volunteer with the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. The NCCC has chapters all over the nation, including a Las Vegas chapter. Get in contact with them to find out how to volunteer at their next event or to donate.

Learn More at Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care

At Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care, we love to spread education about colon and gynecologic cancers. Visit our website for more information, or be the first to know the latest in cancer care by liking and following us on Facebook and Twitter.

What Happens during Your Pelvic Exam?

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In partnership with their doctors, women are responsible for staying up to date with their health. One way you can maintain women’s health is to get regular pelvic exams every year. Learn the value of pelvic exams in preventing gynecologic cancers, and what to expect from your procedure.

A pelvic exam can reveal things women should look out for with their gynecologic health, like uterine fibroids, irregular discharge, or other concerns. It’s one of the best ways for your doctor to examine your reproductive organs and check for any abnormalities that could lead to gynecologic cancers like cervical cancer. Women should start getting regular pelvic exams by the time they turn 21.

What Happens during a Pelvic Exam?

what happens during pelvic examDuring your first pelvic exam, your health care provider will ask you many questions about your medical and sexual history. They will also take any questions you have about changes in your body. You can and should discuss any concerns about your menstrual cycle, sexual history, and vaginal symptoms like itchiness, dryness, or unusual discharge.

The pelvic exam will begin with an external exam. Your doctor will examine the outside of your vagina for any abnormalities in the clitoris, labia, vaginal opening, and anus.

Next, your doctor will perform a speculum exam, in which an instrument called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina, so the cervix and vagina can be seen by the doctor. This part of the exam is also known as the Pap smear. During this part, your doctor will use a plastic spatula to collect samples of cells from the cervix for further examination.

Last, comes the bimanual exam. Your doctor will place two fingers inside the vagina and press down on your stomach with the other hand to feel if any reproductive organs have changed in size or shape.

Does a pelvic exam hurt?

Pelvic exams can sometimes be uncomfortable or embarrassing for women. Often, women state they experience some discomfort during the pelvic exam, especially if it is their first pelvic exam. However, the exam should not be painful. After a couple visits, you should get used to the exam and be glad you did. Pelvic exams can help you stay on track of the things going on inside your body.

Learn More about Women’s Health

Here at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care, we want to educate our patients on gynecologic cancers and women’s health. Visit our blog every week for articles worth reading on how to stay on top of your health this year!