Mcgowan Family Health & Wellness Center
Every year, more than 50 million Pap smears (also known as Pap tests) are conducted to check for precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. Dr. McGowan of McGowan Family Health and Wellness Center helps women in and around Flossmoor, Illinois get the preventive care they need to live a healthy life. Make a Pap smear appointment today by calling or going online.
Q&A on Pap Smears
What is a pap smear, exactly?
Dr. McGowan looks for cervical cancer and abnormalities in cervical cells using Pap smear tests. The cervix is the bottom portion of the uterus that connects to the vaginal opening. These tests can detect existing malignancies and track changes in your cervical cells that could increase your risk of cancer later on.
Pap tests or cervical cancer screening are likely to be covered by your health insurance plan at no cost to you.
What happens during a Pap smear?
Dr. McGowan gently inserts a speculum into your vagina to open the vaginal walls and provide her visual access to the cervix when you get up on the exam table and place your feet in the stirrups. She then swabs a sample of your cervical cells and sends it to a laboratory for analysis.
The process is painless and quick. You may experience some pressure and discomfort during the operation since the speculum opens your vaginal walls.
Who should get a Pap smear and how often should they get one?
After you turn 21, the team at McGowan Family Health and Wellness Center suggests getting one Pap smear every one to three years because that’s when your risk of developing cervical cancer rises. Speak with Dr. McGowan about whether you can stop being checked if you’re over 65 and have a history of normal Pap smear results.
If you’re HIV or HPV positive, or if your immune system has been weakened by cancer treatments or an organ transplant, Dr. McGowan may recommend more frequent Pap tests.
Can HPV be detected by Pap smears?
Pap smears are used to detect and track the HPV virus, which causes a group of over 150 disorders that can lead to cancer. Pap screenings are essential for tracking HPV dormancy and preparing for an epidemic since the virus can remain dormant for a long time before becoming active.
What do the Pap smear findings mean?
The great majority of Pap smear results are normal, indicating that you do not have any abnormal cervical cells.
Aberrant Pap smear findings don’t always indicate cancer; they can indicate abnormal cells that need to be monitored for inflammation or small cell alterations. Dr. McGowan suggests that you come back to the clinic in three months for a second test.