Family Nurse Practitioner, Betsy Mikac, answers Frequently Asked Questions about cervical cancer screening.
Two methods to screen for cervical cancer include a PAP smear and human papilloma virus (HPV) test. A PAP smear is an important screening method to detect potentially precancerous and cancerous cells in the cervix. An HPV test is done similarly however checks for the presence of some high risk strains of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
The screening tests are important to detect cervical cancer in its early stages as most individuals at this stage do not experience any signs or symptoms.
Both tests involve taking a sample of cells from the surface of your cervix. To obtain the sample, your provider will gently insert a tool called a speculum into the vagina to adequately visualize the cervix. Two small brushes are then used to obtain the sample. The sample is sent to a lab and reviewed closely to see if there are any cell abnormalities. The test(s)should not cause pain but may be slightly uncomfortable for a very brief period of time.
Pap smears should be performed on all women 21 years old, regardless of sexual activity. If the results are normal, a Pap smear is typically repeated every 3 years for women 21-29 years old. For women 30-65 years old, a PAP smear can be done every 3 years alone or depending on your provider you can have screening with both a PAP AND HPV test every 5 years if the results are normal. Women over 65 who have had had 3 consecutive PAP smears with normal results or 2 combination PAP/HPV tests over the past 10 years with no new sexual partners do not require PAP screening.
*Some health conditions may require closer monitoring so be sure to discuss further with your provider.
3671 Southwestern Blvd.
Suites 101 & 213
Orchard Park, NY 14127-1752
(716) 662-7008 Office
(716) 662-5226 Fax
Open Today 7:45am - 5:00pm
Calls Accepted 9:00am - 4:30pm
View Office Hours by Practitioner