Preventative health care can help you avoid serious illness and stay healthy for years to come. Routine checkups and screening tests are an important part of preventative health care and help your doctor manage your overall health. A vital screening test for women is the cervical screening test - commonly known as the Pap test.
The Women's Health Center at Logansport Memorial Hospital includes Pap smears as a routine part of exams. Let's learn more about this effective screening tool.
What is a Pap smear
A Pap smear or Pap test is a way to look for changing or potentially cancerous cells on a woman's cervix. A Pap test is often done as a routine part of a pelvic exam.
When you should have a Pap test
- If you are age 21-29 years, you should have a Pap test every 3 years.
- If you are age 30-65, you should have a Pap test along with HPV test every 5 years.
- If you are age 65 or older, you may be able to stop having Pap and HPV tests if you have had normal results (such as, three normal results in a row and no abnormal results in the past 10 years).
NOTE: You will need to have Pap tests done more often if you have abnormal results. You may also need more frequent testing if you have certain conditions, like a suppressed immune system or a history of cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor about the right screening schedule for you.
What to expect from a Pap test
A Pap test takes less than five minutes of time and is generally painless. Your doctor will use a tool to wipe your cervix and gather cells. Those cells are then sent to our laboratory for testing. You and your doctor will have the results within 2-3 weeks.
Cervical cancer screening dramatically reduces cervical cancer by finding early signs of cancer that improve the chances of successful treatment. Pap tests can even find abnormal cervical cells before they turn into cancer cells. Getting a Pap test is one of the best things you can do to prevent cervical cancer.
Screening tests are an important wellness tool to help you prevent serious illness. Many screening tests are recommended at certain ages or regular intervals. Talk to your doctor about which screening tests are recommended for your age and family history.