A routine gynecological exam and Pap smear can be lifesaving for many women. Dr. Okey Okoli, OB/GYN with the Advanced Women’s Center in San Antonio, Texas, provides individualized and compassionate care. If your Pap smear results come out abnormal, he can offer you options, and if the results are normal, you can put your mind at ease. Call Dr. Okoli’s office or book an appointment online today.
A Pap smear is a test to determine if precancerous cells or cancer is present on your cervix, which is the passage to your uterus. It’s a simple, routine test in which Dr. Okoli takes a sample of cells from your cervix.
About 80% of women who have cervical cancer haven't had a routine exam in five years — a statistic that shows how vital Pap smears are. Pap smears detect cancer and precancerous cells, but with early treatment, you can have the abnormal tissue removed.
A Pap smear is part of a routine gynecology exam. You lie down with your feet in stirrups. Dr. Okoli gently inserts a narrow tool called a speculum into your vagina so that he can see your cervix. He takes a sample of a few cells from your cervix with a swab, puts them in a container, and sends them to a lab. You may feel some slight discomfort during the procedure, but it's over quickly and many women are able to return to their normal activities after the appointment.
The lab later sends Dr. Okoli the Pap smear test results. A negative test means everything is normal.
If you receive a positive Pap smear result, it is not a definitive cancer diagnosis. Many women have inflammation or dysplasia — minor cell changes — at some point in their gynecological history. Genital warts could also be the culprit.
Dr. Okoli may have you wait a month or two for another Pap smear, or he may decide to perform a colposcopy, which is a similar procedure to the Pap smear, but one in which Dr. Okoli can more closely examine the cervix and surrounding areas.
If he sees any suspicious areas, Dr. Okoli takes a slightly larger sample of cells and sends it to a lab. If there are any precancerous cells, the next step is the removal of abnormal tissue.
Young women should get their first Pap smear at age 21. From 21 to 65, you should get the test every three years. Alternatively, if you are over 30, you can have a Pap smear every five years if you get the test for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) at the same time; HPV is associated with cervical cancer. Dr. Okoli may recommend more frequent Pap smears if you’ve had abnormal results in the past.
Call the office or book an appointment online with Dr. Okoli at the Advanced Women’s Center for your next gynecological exam.