A Pap smear is the most powerful tool available for detecting the presence of cancerous or precancerous cervical cells. William Garcia, MD, of Vienna, Virginia, offers Pap smears as part of your well-woman exams. If you’re overdue for a Pap smear or have questions about the process, schedule a visit with Dr. Garcia. Online scheduling is one option, or you’re welcome to call or stop by the office to book your appointment.
A Pap smear is a screening tool used to look for signs of cervical cancer. It’s a simple test that’s performed during your well-woman exams. Developed by Dr. Georgios Papanicolaou in the 1940s, Pap smear tests have revolutionized cervical cancer care in the years since.
In the early 1900s, cervical cancer was the deadliest form of cancer among women. Today, early detection and advanced treatment options have reduced cervical cancer deaths in America to just 4,000 per year. Researchers believe that in the near future almost all cases of cervical cancer can be prevented through various means, including detecting cellular changes well before cancer is present.
Getting a Pap smear is a quick and simple procedure. You’ll recline comfortably on the exam table with your feet resting in supports. Dr. Garcia inserts a thin medical tool called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently opens your vaginal walls to give Dr. Garcia a clear view of and access to your cervix.
He then uses a thin spatula or brush to collect a small number of cells from your cervix. The process may create a brief cramping sensation, but it isn’t painful or prolonged. The collected cells are sent to a medical lab where they’re examined under a microscope to look for signs of cervical cancer or precancerous changes.
You may notice some spotting for the rest of the day, which is perfectly normal. If you have any discomfort, over-the-counter pain medication can be helpful. There’s no need for any special aftercare, and you can resume normal activities immediately after your appointment.
It may take a week or so for your results to arrive back to Dr. Garcia’s office. You’ll be notified of the results, and if there are no abnormalities noted, you’ll simply return to have your next Pap smear as advised.
If your results do show abnormalities, there’s no need to panic. You’ll return to the office for additional screenings and a treatment plan if needed.
To learn more about this and other essential women’s health screenings, schedule a visit with Dr. Garcia today. You can book an appointment online or by phone.