From CBS News, September 25, 2013
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An annual gynecologic exam is important for any female, whether you are sexually active or not. This exam is the time for your doctor to be sure that you are physically well and to answer any questions you may have about women’s health. Of all the tests and treatments performed by your doctor, a Pap Smear is high on the list of priorities to preserve gynecologic health and to help prevent cervical cancer.
A “Pap test” is a routine test that checks for abnormal cell changes in the cervix. During your pelvic exam, the doctor takes cells directly from the cervix with a brush. The collection of these cells only takes a few seconds and is not painful.
Cervical cells usually appear abnormal before they become cancerous. Because of this, the Pap test can lead to treatment and prevention of cervical cancer. This is necessary because it is one of the few routine tests that can actually PREVENT cancer!
Whether or not you need a Pap Smear after you’ve had a hysterectomy depends on the type of hysterectomy. It’s best to consult your doctor for specific recommendations. Typically, if you still have your cervix after your hysterectomy, then you should continue to have Pap tests. After the age of 65, the frequency of the tests may lessen depending on your doctor’s approval. When it comes to such a beneficial test, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Although the first gynecologic exam is often before age 21, Pap Smears are started at this age. After that, the current recommendation is every 3 to 5 years in low risk women and more often in women with risk factors or a history of an abnormal Pap Smear.
Recently I spent a day with Dr. Vincent Lucente and Dr. Cristina Saiz who specialize in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Lucente and his fellow, Dr. Saiz are dedicated to providing excellent surgical care to their patients. They are willing to share their techniques with others and I greatly benefited from being in the operating room with them for the day. They are able to perform life changing procedures for women using minimally invasive methods. Dr. Lucente is very passionate about healthcare issues for women and he has agreed to join the board for Pass the Pearls and help with our mission to educate women about minimally invasive surgery options. Thank you Dr.s Lucente and Saiz for sharing! Lori Warren.
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