Dr. Debora Sedaghat provides pap smears at OC Women's Care in Fountain Valley, CA. We are here for all your OBGYN needs.
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is routine screening for abnormal or precancerous cells in and around the cervix. Pap smears are in-office procedures performed by your OBGYN. During a pap smear, the vaginal opening and canal are expanded with a tool called a speculum, and then cells are collected from the outside of the cervix to be examined. The process can be uncomfortable or a little painful for some patients, but it is over quickly.
The cells are examined under a microscope for irregularities, looking for signs of precancerous conditions. OC Women's Care in Fountain Valley, CA, will contact you about any abnormal results on your pap smear.
Why is it important?
In a majority of cases, cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Early detection of high-risk HPV can help prevent cervical cancer.
The CDC recommends getting pap smears starting at age 21 and through age 65 every three years. After the age of 30, HR HPV is also checked at the time of pap smears. Based on the results of your pap smear, your OBGYN will advise when you should have your next screening. If you are healthy your doctor may tell you to come back in three years for paper smears but to continue with your annual exams which will include breast and pelvic exams every year. If they are watching precancerous cells, they may want you to return early in time for repeat pap smears or proceed with colposcopy and biopsies. Remember it's still important to have an annual exam even if you don't need a pap smear!
How can I protect myself?
Consistent screening is important to protect yourself from cervical cancer, but good habits are another way to be proactive. Practicing safe sex (using condoms) can prevent the spread of HPV. Smoking increases the risk of cervical cancer significantly and your OBGYN will recommend quitting smoking.
Come see Dr. Debora Sedaghat at OC Women's Care in Fountain Valley, CA, for a pap smear and cervical cancer screening. Give us a call at (714) 966-2112.