Early detection and diagnosis is a critical step towards successfully treating any gynecological or reproductive issue that a woman may experience. By catching a gynecological health concern early, you will likely provide yourself with more effective treatment options. This is why it’s so important to keep up with your regular gynecological appointments including your annual well woman exam and Pap smears.
A Pap smear, sometimes referred to as a Pap test, is a crucial part of maintaining the best possible reproductive health and wellness over time. Pap testing is used as a tool for diagnosing cervical cancer in women, as well as checking for any abnormal cells that could potentially be cancer-causing if not addressed. During a Pap smear, a small sample of cells is collected from the cervix. This sample is then carefully analyzed to detect the presence of cervical cancer as well as monitor the size and shape of the cells to look out for potential warning signs of cancer.
According to statistics collected by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US each year. A Pap smear can effectively detect cervical cancer early enough to treat it before it has a chance to grow and spread. Pap testing is especially important for women with certain risk factors for cervical cancer including a family history with the disease or a past Pap smear that showed precancerous cells.
After Pap testing begins at age 21, many doctors recommend it be repeated at least every three years. However, here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we think there is tremendous value in undergoing Pap testing annually. This will help ensure that any potential abnormalities are caught as quickly as possible, so they can be most successfully treated. Here in our office, we perform Pap smears as part of an annual well woman examination.
Every woman is different so we strongly recommend speaking with your board-certified gynecologist to determine how often Pap testing should be performed. However, regardless of your specific situation, we cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to keep up with your gynecological examinations and to never miss a requested appointment. For more information or to request your Pap smear appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for additional news, tips, and details on our upcoming Health and Wellness events.