Routine Pap tests can improve your health by detecting precancerous changes to your cervix before they become a major problem. New York City gynecologist Joan Berman, MD, provides Pap tests and well-woman exams for preventive care at her Upper East Side practice. If you need a Pap test, call or book an appointment online today.
A Pap test, or Pap smear, checks for abnormal changes to the cells on your cervix. These abnormal cells may develop into cancer if left undetected, but are easy to treat when caught early. Regular Pap tests are key to preventing cervical cancer.
Even if you’re not currently sexually active or getting menstrual periods, routine Pap tests should be part of your preventive health care plan. Women ages 21-65 should get Pap tests at recommended intervals, even if you’ve already gone through menopause.
Women who don’t have a cervix due to hysterectomy or other reasons don’t need to get a Pap test, but should still schedule well-woman exams with Dr. Berman on a regular basis.
This answer depends on your age and medical history. The best way to find out how often you need a Pap test is to ask Dr. Berman during your well-woman exam.
If you’re 21-29, you need a Pap test every three years.
If you’re 30-64, you can get a Pap test with HPV testing every five years, or a Pap test alone every three years.
Women over age 65 should ask Dr. Berman if they should continue having Pap tests.
Dr. Berman may recommend more frequent Pap tests if you have certain medical conditions or have been treated for an abnormal Pap test in the past.
Pap tests may not be the most comfortable experiences in the world, but they’re generally quick and painless. Dr. Berman may perform a Pap test during your pelvic exam.
To begin a Pap test, Dr. Berman first gently inserts the speculum into your vagina. Then, she swabs the surface of your cervix to collect a sample of cells. The entire process takes only a few minutes, and then she sends the cell sample to a lab for testing.
If your Pap test results are negative, that’s a good sign. Negative results mean there’s no abnormal changes to the cells on your cervix, and you don’t need to do anything until your next scheduled Pap test.
Positive, or abnormal, results don’t mean you have cervical cancer, but Dr. Berman may want to perform more tests, such as a colposcopy.
To schedule your Pap test, call the office or book an appointment online today.