A Pap test is one of the simplest, yet most effective, tools in the female health arsenal. This single test affords you a rare opportunity to catch cancer in its precancerous stages, in this case, cervical cancer. At Doctors of Bellevue-Redmond, Dr. Nelly Bardman is equipped to perform Pap tests, providing her patients in Bellevue, Washington, with peace of mind. Whether as part of your annual checkup or as a standalone test, call or book an appointment online to get a Pap smear.
A Pap test, which is sometimes called a Pap smear, reveals whether you have abnormal cell changes on your cervix, which could signal a potential problem. The test itself is painless and easy: Dr. Bardman simply takes a swab of your cervix.
Imagine that a simple swab anywhere on your body could tell you whether you’re at risk for developing cancer in that area. That’s precisely what a Pap test offers you: the chance to catch cervical cancer before it even develops.
Cervical cancer strikes over 13,000 women in the United States each year and, unfortunately, over 4,000 women die from it annually. Cervical cancer, especially in its later stages, is an aggressive and hard-to-treat disease.
Regular Pap tests monitor any abnormal cell changes on your cervix, which may develop into precancerous cells. Getting them regularly allows you to treat the abnormal cells before they have the chance to develop into cancerous cells.
If your test reveals abnormal cell changes, there’s no cause for immediate alarm. In fact, the test is doing what it’s designed to do: alert you to the potential for more significant problems to develop.
More often than not, these cell changes can be tied back to human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is a widespread sexually-transmitted infection. In fact, most sexually active women will have some form of the infection over the course of their lives, and many are not even aware of it.
If you have HPV, your body usually rids itself of the infection on its own. While your body is at work fighting the infection, your test may show abnormal results. In these cases, Dr. Bardman usually waits and tests you again in six months.
If your test results still show abnormal cell changes, Dr. Bardman discusses next steps with you based on your medical history and lifestyle.
Ultimately, the answer to this depends upon a schedule that you and Dr. Bardman are comfortable with.
If your test results don’t reveal anything out of the ordinary, she tests you every 1-3 years, depending on your age and lifestyle. If you continually have abnormal results, Dr. Bardman will likely test you more often.
To find out more about this life-saving tool, call Doctors of Bellevue-Redmond, or book an appointment online.