Arizona Women's Health Partners
OB-GYNs located in Mesa, AZ
A pap smear is a screening test designed to check for abnormal cells on the cervix. Thomas Bickley, DO, and Eericca Bickley, DO, of Arizona Women’s Health Partners offer pap smears to women in Mesa, AZ and serving Gilbert, AZ. To schedule a pap smear, women should contact Arizona Women’s Health Partners.
Pap Smear Q&A
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is a test used to examine some of the cells on the cervix. The purpose of the test is to check for abnormal cells that may indicate cancer. Pap smears may also identify precancerous cells.
How is a pap smear performed?
During a pap smear, the woman lies on an exam table with her feet in stirrups. Dr. Thomas or Dr. Eericca will place a device in the vagina to visualize the cervix. The doctor will then use a small brush or spatula to collect cells from the cervix that will be sent to a lab for analysis.
How often are pap smears necessary?
Most patients should begin having pap smears when they become sexually active or reach 21 years of age. Until age 30, patients should have a pap smear once every three years. Between the ages of 30 and 65, patients may reduce the frequency of pap smears to once every five years if previous pap smears were normal and tests for human papillomavirus (HPV) are negative. Many women who reach the age of 65 can stop having pap smears, but patients should discuss this issue with Dr. Thomas or Dr. Eericca before discontinuing screening tests.
What do the results mean?
The results of a pap smear may be normal or abnormal. If the results of the test are normal, it means that the cells collected during the exam appeared normal. However, in rare cases, patients may have a normal pap smear result and still have cancer.
If the results of the pap smear are abnormal, it means that the cells collected didn’t look like normal cells. However, patients with an abnormal pap smear don’t always have cervical cancer. The abnormal cells may be precancerous, the result may have been an error, or another factor may have caused the cells to appear abnormal. Patients with an abnormal pap smear typically need further testing.
What happens if precancerous or cancerous cells are found?
If a pap smear leads to the discovery of cancerous or precancerous cells, treatment will usually be necessary. Dr. Thomas or Dr. Eericca can remove precancerous cells using minimally invasive procedures. If the patient has cervical cancer, however, the doctor will usually refer her to an oncologist to discuss treatment options.
*We accept the majority of health insurance plans. Please call our office if you do not see yours listed or have any other questions. Please note to check with your insurance or call the office to make certain that we are on your specific insurance plan as they are constantly changing.*