Every Apple Valley woman knows the experience of sitting in the waiting room in the gynecology department, awaiting her turn. We know the procedure and, most of all, we know the feeling, but many ladies today don’t fully understand the importance of having a pap smear.
A Pap smear is a procedure that screens for serious health conditions, namely cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that is caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD) called the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is especially difficult to detect because men are carriers of the STD, but they have no symptoms. Many Apple Valley people are exposed to it, but it can lie dormant and silent for years; in fact, more than 50% of all sexually active individuals will acquire this virus at some point in their life.
Cervical cancer is considered a life-threatening health risk which can be fatal, which is why pap smears in Apple Valley are so important. Depending on the severity of the cancer, treating cervical cancer may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. The pap smear enables healthcare professionals to screen for pre-cancer cells before cancer develops. Prevention is always better than treatment.
The examination itself only lasts a few minutes. Usually, in Apple Valley the pap smear will include a pelvic check and a screen for HPV. The doctor will ask you to lie on your back with knees bent, and will use an instrument called a spatula to swab the cervix. The “spatula” is actually a soft brush, and most women experience no pain whatsoever. These cells from the cervix will be sent to the lab and tested for any sign of HPV, cancer or pre-cancer cells, or any other abnormality.
The Pap smear is a quick but essential routine examination that most Apple Valley doctors recommend getting done at least once every three years for ladies between the ages of 21 and 65. As easy and as important pap smears are, they have a bad reputation for being awkward; gynecology is a sensitive subject, and the best way to overcome any feelings of embarrassment or hesitation is to find the right gynecologist in Apple Valley. Choose a doctor who you trust and who will make you feel comfortable and confident.