cervical cancer screening blog, pap smear blog

Pap Smear: What do I need to Know?

Cervical Cancer Dun Dun Dunnnnn. Cancer? Doesn’t that only happen when you are older? If you have been exposed to HPV or grow some abnormal cells, you might be susceptible. Cancer sounds like a monsterous word, but this is very preventable! It is not as scary as you might think…

A Pap Smear, also called a Pap Test, is a screening test done on women to check for abnormal cells or mutation that can lead to cervical cancer. Pap Smear has had a smeared name because women do not like the procedure. Let the BFR professional staff walk you through it.

What happens during a screening?

This life saving screening uses a small brush to collect cells from the cervix to be checked under a microscope for specifically cervical cancer and HPV, human papillomavirus. The pap test and HPV test looks for strains of HPV that are most likely to cause cancer. 

What to know?

  • A pelvic exam is also routinely done by your doctor to examine and feel your uterus, ovaries, and other parts of the female reproductive system.
  • Pelvic exams help identify infections, problems, and cancer if visible.
  • STI testing can also be done during pelvic exams.
  • Difference between HPV and Pap Smear:
      • HPV, a common STI, increases the risk of cervical cancer without treatment. 

      •  Pap Smear checks for abnormal cells that are either precancerous or cancerous cells. 

      • The provider can do both the pap test and HPV at the same time by brushing the surface of the cervix and sending it off to a lab. 

Who needs this screening?

  • If you are under 21, you do not need a screening
  • If you are 21-29 Pap testing is done every 3 years 
  • If you are 30 and older, every 3 years for the pap test or every 5 years with the Pap test and HPV done together 

There are a few exceptions to the screening guidelines! You may need more frequent screenings if you have a history of cervical cancer, are HIV positive, or weakened immune system. 

Check with us at BRF Medical and see your OBGYN yearly! These appointments are a great time to ask your doctor questions about any problems you may have been having. You can also call or text us with questions!

Schedule an appointment with BFR Medical and meet with a healthcare professional to discuss all your options.