While no woman really enjoys having a Pap smear, it’s a critical health screening that can potentially save your life. If you live in or around Minneapolis, you can count on a pap smear delivered with compassionate and gentle hands from Dr. Marilee Hanson, MD, FACOG, at her comfortable practice, Hanson Clinic, PLC. Don’t put off this essential test; call or book your appointment online today.
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is a women’s health screening that checks for abnormal cell growth on your cervix, which is the lower part of your uterus that opens into your vagina. Abnormal cells that develop on your cervix can evolve into cancer.
Abnormal cells could also indicate a sexually transmitted disease like the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer and HPV don’t often cause noticeable symptoms in their early stages, and a Pap smear is the only way to screen for these changes to ensure you get the medical treatment you need to protect your health.
If you’re in good health and have a low risk of cervical cancer, you should have a Pap smear every three years, unless Dr. Hanson suggests a different schedule.
Dr. Hanson makes getting a Pap smear as comfortable as possible. While the test isn’t painful, you may feel some pressure.
You rest on a treatment table with your feet in stirrups. Dr. Hanson warms and inserts a speculum, a device that holds your vagina open, so she can see your cervix. She then uses a brush that looks like a long mascara wand to gently collect a sample of cells from your cervix.
She sends the cell sample to a medical lab for screening. Your results are usually available in less than a week.
If your Pap smear results are abnormal, you’ll have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hanson. She may need to collect another sample or a biopsy for further testing. She may also perform a colposcopy to examine your cervix more closely.
During a colposcopy, you rest on the treatment table with your feet in stirrups. Dr. Hanson uses a speculum to hold your vagina open while she uses a colposcope to look at your cervix. A colposcope is a device that is like a lighted telescope. It stays outside of your body and provides a magnified view of your cervix.
Dr. Hanson may also perform a procedure to remove your abnormal cells. She often performs a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove the top layer of cells.
You’ll also have more frequent Pap smears in the future to allow Dr. Hanson to monitor the health of your cervix more closely.
If you’re due for a Pap smear, call Hanson Clinic, PLC in Minneapolis or book your appointment online today.