A Pap smear is a test that’s used to screen for cervical cancer. The test checks the cervix for both cancerous and precancerous cells and for the presence of HPV.
The test is named in honor of Dr. Papanikolaou who demonstrated that this test is a reliable way of screening women for cervical cancer.
If the results from a Pap smear come back abnormal, a medical provider will often perform an HPV test on the sample and if necessary recommend a colposcopy which is looking at the cervix with a telescope.
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that’s extremely common. In women, the virus can cause a pre-cancerous change which can be easily treated when detected at an early stage. It usually does not cause these changes but should be checked for and ruled out.
All women who are sexually active should have a Pap smear or cervical cultures done regularly. Precisely how frequently women need tested depends on how many partners they have, whether their partners have been tested, and other factors. Women should see a gynecologist for a precise recommendation as to how often they should come in for testing.
All women should have a Pap smear done to make sure they don’t have any signs of cervical cancer. Because HPV is so common, some gynecologists include HPV testing as a standard part of their well woman care.
A Pap smear is simple and takes just a few minutes. It’s easy to schedule a test around other obligations if it’s not already performed as part of a well-woman visit, and women can go right back to their usual activities after the test is over.
We participate with most local and many national insurance plans. However, it is your responsibility to understand whether your insurance has limits on the doctors you can see or the services you can receive. If you provide complete and accurate information about your insurance, we will submit claims to your insurance carrier and receive payments for services. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be responsible for co-payments, co-insurance, or other deductible amounts. Please contact our billing office or call your insurance carrier should you have any questions.
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