Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of death for U.S. women, but that is no longer the case because Pap smears allow doctors to detect the disease in its earliest stages when treatment has the highest chance of being successful. You can count on Lena Speck Hopkins, MD, for Pap testing and for monitoring and treatment in the case of abnormal results. To schedule a Pap smear, call the office in Harlingen, Texas, today, or book an appointment online.
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is a procedure in which cells from your cervix--the cylinder-shaped tissue that connects your vagina and uterus--are collected and tested for signs of cervical cancer and for abnormal cells that could become cancer in the future.
The cells collected during a Pap smear can also be tested for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which can cause cervical cancer. However, a Pap smear can’t detect the presence of any other STDs or types of cancer.
A Pap smear can detect cervical cancer in the early stages when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Dr. Speck Hopkins recommends that women have a Pap smear every three years between the ages of 21-65. She may recommend more frequent Pap smears if you have any of the following:
You may also need additional Pap smears if you have previously had an abnormal Pap test.
Dr. Speck Hopkins usually does a Pap smear during a pelvic exam, while you’re reclined with your feet in stirrups. She uses a tool called a speculum to open your vagina, and then uses a long swab to collect the cells to be tested.
You might feel a little bit of a pinch during your Pap smear, but it will be over in just a few seconds. Dr. Speck Hopkins places your cervical cells in a preservative liquid in a sealed container and sends them to the lab to be analyzed.
If your results are positive for abnormal cervical cells, Dr. Speck Hopkins may recommend that you have a follow-up Pap smear or that you repeat the test every four to six months to monitor any changes in your cervix.
Dr. Speck Hopkins may also recommend a colposcopy, in which she uses an instrument called a colposcope, which has a bright light and a magnifying lens, to look more closely at your cervix.
If Dr. Speck Hopkins sees anything unusual during your colposcopy, she will take a tissue sample to send to a lab for a biopsy, which will determine conclusively whether cancer is present in those cells.
To schedule a Pap smear, call Lena Speck Hopkins, MD, today, or make an appointment online.