How Often Should You Get A Pap Smear in North Hills Urgent Care?
A Pap smear is also known as a Pap test. This is a screening process done to show cervical cancer. While carrying out a Pap smear, our practitioner or a doctor takes the cells from the cervix. The uterus is found at the top of the vagina since it’s the opening to the cervix. The collected cells are then taken to the laboratory to check for abnormal changes. However, many patients are used to going for one year since it was recommended previously. A Pap smear is not recommended for only one year since the research has evolved. You need to ask our gynaecologists how often should you get a pap smear. A patient can take a pap smear test every 3 to 5 years, depending on the age of the patient.
Why Is a Pap Smear Done?
A pap smear is carried out on the cervical cells to detect the changes before they develop cancer. Detecting cancer in its early stages helps you fight it before it develops further. Every woman aged 21-65 should undergo a Pap smear regularly. How often to get pap smear depends if you’ve ever had it in the past or on your overall health.
Why is Pap smears so Important?
One type of cancer affecting many women in the world is cervical cancer. More than 13,000 are affected with cervical cancer yearly. It does grow slowly, and it can be treated when identified early. Pap smears are cervical cancer examinations done together with your pelvic screening. While having a pap smear, our specialist opens your vaginal walls using a speculum. He then uses a swab to remove a small sample of cells and then takes off the speculum. The collected sample of cells is then sent to a lab where it is screamed for the signs of cancer. If the pap smear results are normal, you are required to do nothing else. But if our specialist comes back with abnormal results, more screening is necessary to be done. Whenever you get abnormal pap smear results, it doesn’t show that you have cervical cancer. Abnormal results can scare you a little bit. At this point, our doctor may consider another Pap test or wait before giving any diagnosis.
Who should get a Pap test?
If you are 21 to 65 years old, you should get a pap test every three years. Whenever you visit, discuss with our doctor how often should a woman get a pap smear that is if:
- You have had cancer of the vulva, cervix, or vagina
- You had an abnormal pap test in the past
When Should You Get a Pap Smear Test?
Women under 30
You can ask our doctor how often should you get a pap smear if you are not sure. After having two normal pap tests yearly, North Hills Urgent Care recommends women under 30 years of age take a pap test every three years. Cervical cells change to cancer slowly. Getting tested after every three years can help you get changes in cells early. And treatment procedures can easily be done in North Hills Urgent Care Clinic before it grows into cancer. This procedure is advised by many women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer. For those patients under the age of 30 years, HPV testing is not recommended regularly.
Women 30 and older
At the age of 30 years and above, one can get cervical cancer easily. You need to have an HPV test together with a pap test since the chances of having HPV positive are low. When both tests come out negative, the risk of having cervical cancer is less. If you have gone through a partial hysterectomy, that is having your uterus removed and your cervix not, there is no need for you to have a pap test anymore, unlike women who have not gone through a hysterectomy.
Do You need a Pap Smear test if You do not have sexual intercourse?
Every woman who has not undergone a hysterectomy and is between the age of 21-65 must have a pap test. Other than sexual intercourse, HPV can also be found in the fingernails and the mouths of people. HPV can also be transmitted by these body parts. Every three years, make sure you get a pap smear test together with an HPV test. But keep in mind that testing for cervical cancer is not recommended more often. If your HPV test is positive, carry out a pap test together with HPV yearly until your HPV changes to be negative.
Also, You should get a Pap test if:
- If you are between 21 to 65 years
- You have never had a Pap test
- You have not had a pap test for the past three years
When can I stop having Pap tests?
You should also know when you should stop going for pap tests. You can stop regular pap smear tests if:
- You are above age 65, and your HPV test comes out negative, and also your pap test is normal.
- You have had at least 3 pap tests in the last 10 years, and you are over 65 years of age.
- You don’t have a history of cancer of the vulva, cervix, or vagina, and you have gone through a total hysterectomy ( your cervix removed)
Whenever you have a hysterectomy that is partial where only your uterus is removed, your pap smear test can be done under the same circumstances as those women having their uterus ( not had a hysterectomy)
The recommended number of pap smear tests one can get changes over time. Our recommendations for how often do you get pap smears have changed over time. Therefore, you can ask our doctor how often should you get a pap smear. How often you get a pap smear test is determined by the risk factors, your age, and a previous pap test and HPV test results. If you are between 21 to 65 years of age and you have a cervix, you must get a pap test and HPV test at least 3 to 5 years, even after taking an HPV vaccine. By taking several appropriate screening and HPV vaccines, you can easily prevent cervical cancer. To protect your health, make screening your routine and prioritize it.