Women often delay their Pap smear because they’re afraid of the results. But abnormal Pap smear results don’t always mean cancer. Abnormal results are fairly common and can indicate many other highly-treatable conditions. At Alane Park, MD in Los Angeles, Dr. Park stresses the importance of regular Pap smears to detect changes in your cervical tissue and prevent future health issues. Call or schedule your Pap smear and complete well-woman exam online today.
A Pap smear or Pap test is a procedure that detects abnormal cells in the cervix -- the narrow part of the womb that leads to the vagina -- that may indicate cancer.
Dr. Park screens most women for cervical cancer around age 21 and every 1-5 years depending on your age, family history, and risk factors. Women with specific risk factors like previous precancerous cells or a weakened immune system should have a Pap smear every year.
Early-stage cervical cancer has no symptoms, which makes your Pap smear critical for early detection.
Dr. Park performs a Pap smear during your routine pelvic exam or when you have unusual symptoms.
During a Pap smear, Dr. Park inserts a speculum into your vagina to see your cervix. You’ll feel a bit of pressure but no pain.
Using a small medical spatula and brush, she scrapes a small sample of cervical cells off the cervix. The procedure is over in seconds, and you’re free to resume your daily activities. She then sends the sample to a lab to be checked for abnormalities.
Pap smear results come back as normal, unclear, or abnormal. A positive result means your sample contained abnormal cells, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. Dr. Park uses two primary procedures to learn more about your cervical tissue.
Dr. Park uses a type of microscope to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of disease. She sometimes collects a small tissue sample for additional testing.
The procedure takes around 20 minutes and is relatively painless. After a biopsy sample, some women have light bleeding, vaginal discharge, or slight vaginal pain up to two days after the procedure.
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is another way to test and treat abnormal cervical cells. This procedure is performed if you have high-grade abnormal cells on your cervix.
During LEEP, Dr. Park removes the abnormal tissue so she can test it for cancer. During the procedure, she applies an anesthetic to the cervix before using a loop to shave off the abnormal cells. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes.
After Dr. Park reviews results of your tests, she discusses the best course of action for you. Early detection is the best tool we have against cervical cancer, so schedule your Pap smear with Dr. Park today.