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Your Guide to Pap Smears: Who Needs One, Why, and How Often?

Your Guide to Pap Smears: Who Needs One, Why, and How Often?

To protect you from cervical cancer, experienced OB/GYN Dr. Leonardo A. Longoria recommends that you follow official guidelines for cervical cancer screening. Dr. Longoria and his team at Longoria OBGYN provide Pap smears and other women’s health care from their easy-to-access location in El Paso, Texas.

Are you unsure if you’re due for a Pap smear this spring? Could you even be overdue? Here’s what you need to know about who needs Pap smears, how frequently, and why you need to stay up-to-date with this part of your preventive health care.

The importance of Pap smears

Cervical cancer is one of the health conditions that uniquely affect female biology. This type of cancer affects your cervix, which is located at the top of your vaginal canal and opens into your uterus. 

Cervical cancer screening starts with a Pap smear. This in-office exam involves collecting a sample of tissue from your cervix, which is then scanned in a lab for early warning signs of potential cancer. 

A Pap smear is one of the best ways to detect potential cervical cancer early, which means better chances for better outcomes. Cervical cancer can be deadly if not caught and treated early. So, getting regular Pap smears can actually save your life. In fact, statistics show that getting regular Pap smears lowers the risk of death from cervical cancer.

Guidelines for Pap smears

How often should you get a Pap smear? The answer is, it depends on factors like your age as well as your pre-existing risks for cervical cancer. Dr. Longoria can help you determine the best schedule of Pap smears for your preventive care needs.

Who needs a Pap smear? Women and people with female reproductive organs should:

After the age of 30, Dr. Longoria suggests that you consider adding human papillomavirus (HPV) testing to your regular Pap smear.

Pap smears: Protecting your health

You may need more frequent Pap smears if you have pre-existing risk factors for cervical cancer. These include:

Some people don’t need Pap smears as often. Getting a negative Pap smear and HPV test may mean you won’t need retesting for as long as five years.

The best way to ensure you’re getting Pap smears with enough regularity is to talk to an expert like Dr. Longoria about the optimal plan for you. Dr. Longoria conducts your Pap smear and makes sure you understand your results when they come back from the lab. If you receive a positive result, Dr. Longoria advises you on next steps.

If you think you might need a Pap smear, schedule one now at Longoria OBGYN. Late is definitely better than never when it comes to this screening test. Schedule your appointment by calling our office today or requesting a visit online anytime.

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