As part of your preventive healthcare plan as a woman, a routine Pap smear should be at the top of your priority list. The quick and painless test is typically done during a pelvic exam as a screening for cancer. Even if there’s no history in your family of cancer, it’s a good idea to continue with this type of health screening for as long as Dr. Fozouni recommends.
There are several important reasons you should following through with this test, which offers you these top five benefits:
Your peace of mind
Having a Pap smear that produces normal results gives you the peace of mind your reproductive system is functioning normally and the reassurance that you aren’t at increased risk for cancer.
If you have cancer cells present in your cervix, a routine Pap smear can detect them in their earliest stages. Otherwise, waiting until you show symptoms of cancer may make treatment more complicated or less successful.
A Pap smear can not only indicate the presence of cancer cells in the cervix, it can also highlight precancerous cells that may change over time and become cancer.
Treatment for precancerous cells is possible, designed to stop changes that lead to cancer.
Potential for less treatment
By detecting cancer cells early through a Pap smear, you may require much less treatment in the earliest stages than if your cancer were more advanced.
Eliminate the chance of spreading
By identifying cancer early, a Pap smear helps eliminate the chance that any precancerous or cancerous cells can spread to other parts of your body.
This early identification can go a long way to increasing your likelihood of recovery and overall cancer survival.
The frequency of Pap smears
For otherwise healthy women between 21 and 65, Dr. Fozouni recommends a Pap smear at least every three years. If you’re over 30 and healthy, you can undergo testing every five years.
If you have a history of cancer or there’s a history of the disease in your family, more frequent Pap tests may be advised, such as once a year.
Underlying medical conditions or circumstances you have may increase your risk for cervical cancer, and you may need annual Pap smears to monitor your health. These issues include:
- HIV infection
- History of smoking
- Weakened immune system
When you reach 65 and have a long history of normal Pap smears, you may also be able to discontinue testing. If you’ve had a hysterectomy where your cervix was removed, you may not need to have Pap smears anymore, unless the surgery was due to cancerous cells.
After a review of your medical history and current health, you can work with Dr. Fozouni to determine the ideal Pap smear schedule for your health.
It’s always wise to err on the side of caution and stay on track with the recommended Pap testing schedule. The test is both safe and the most effective option for detecting cancer you may otherwise not know you have.
Schedule your next Pap smear now by calling the Palm Springs office or by using the convenient online booking feature.