Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer are often a part of your yearly pelvic exam. The doctors at Martin, Lee & Page OBGYN recommend regular Pap smears because cervical cancer is treatable when it’s found at an early stage. If you haven’t had a Pap smear in a few years, please don’t wait any longer. Contact the Memphis, Tennessee, office or use the online booking agent to schedule an appointment.
Cervical cancer begins when cells in the cervix start to grow at an abnormally rapid pace. At first, the cells go through precancerous changes. At this stage, some women develop cancer while others don’t, even without treatment. For those who develop cancer, it typically takes several years for the precancerous stage to become cervical cancer.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. More than 150 strains of the virus exist, and the type of HPV that causes cervical cancer is one of the many you can get from having any type of sex, even when your partner doesn’t have any symptoms of the virus.
In some women, HPV doesn’t cause any problems because the immune system suppresses the virus within 1-2 years. In others, the virus invades healthy cells in the cervix, which causes them to grow abnormally.
Cervical cancer usually doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stage. As the cells turn cancerous and begin to affect surrounding tissues, you may develop symptoms such as:
These symptoms should never be ignored, so please contact Martin, Lee & Page OBGYN for a thorough examination. You may not have cervical cancer, but if you do, early detection and treatment is critical.
A Pap smear is a way to screen for cervical cancer. Your doctor uses a simple wooden or plastic scraper or brush to remove cells from the cervix. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
When the lab technicians view the Pap sample under a microscope, they can identify early changes in cervical cells. Depending on the results, you’ll need further screening, possibly an HPV test, or your doctor may perform a colposcopy to take a biopsy and verify the exact diagnosis.
Using regular Pap smears for early detection of cellular changes means you’ll catch precancerous changes at their earliest stage when they can be successfully treated. If it’s been a few years since your last Pap test, call for an appointment or book online today.