It’s estimated that 20% of women have been infected with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) -- an infection that causes cervical cancer. Farly Sejour, MD, FACOG, of the Solace Women’s Center in Conroe, Texas, encourages women to get a Pap smear because it detects cervical cancer at an early stage while it’s still easy to treat. If you’re 21 years of age or older and haven’t had a recent Pap smear, contact Dr. Sejour and his expert team today. Don’t wait to schedule preventive screening because HPV and cervical cancer can be present for years without causing any symptoms.
Cervical cancer develops when cells at the surface of the cervix grow abnormally. Over time, cancerous cells can spread deeper into the cervix, then through lymph and blood vessels, causing new tumors in the lungs, liver, and bones.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads when a person has vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. The partner who has HPV often doesn’t know because symptoms may not develop for years after being infected.
In the early stage, cervical cancer usually has no symptoms. As the tumor grows larger, women begin to experience:
Abnormal bleeding or pain should always be assessed by a gynecologist, so please don’t wait to contact Dr. Sejour at Solace Women’s Center to schedule a pelvic examination and Pap smear.
During a Pap smear, or a Pap test, Dr. Sejour has you lie on an examination table with your legs spread apart. He inserts an instrument called a speculum into your vagina in order to hold the vagina walls apart, allowing him to be able to easily examine your cervix. He gently scrapes cells from the outside of your cervix using a soft brush and a flat scraping device called a spatula. The tissue sample is put on a glass slide and sent to a lab, where a trained pathologist examines the cells for signs of abnormal and cancerous growth. If abnormal cells are found, the Pap test is graded according to the type of change seen in the cells.
How often you need to be screened for cervical cancer depends on your age and overall health, so Dr. Saunders will recommend a schedule after performing a pelvic examination and getting the results of your Pap smear. However, cervical cancer grows slowly, so most healthy women can follow the recommended guidelines:
Pap test only take a few minutes and shouldn’t be painful. You may experience some mild discomfort during the exam. Be sure to communicate your concerns with Dr. Sejour if you have any before or during your test. After your Pap test, you can go about your day as normal with no downtime involved.
If you think you might be past due on receiving a Pap smear or have any questions or concerns regarding the procedure in general, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Sejour and the friendly team at Solace Women’s Center.