Benefits of Having a Pap Test
A Pap test can help detect early signs of cervical cancer. If caught early, the chance of successful treatment of cervical cancer is very high.
At UPMC, our board-certified providers’ primary goal is to provide exceptional care to ensure patient health.
Why a Pap Test Is Performed
A Pap test checks for the presence of cancer or other diseases within the cervix or vagina. If you’re between the ages of 30 and 65, it is recommended that you get a pap test every three years.
What to Expect
It’s important that a Pap test be as accurate as possible.
Before you get a Pap test, be sure to:
- Avoid sexual intercourse
- Avoid douching
- Avoid using vaginal creams for 48 hours before a test
A Pap test is performed during a pelvic exam. You will be positioned on your back with your legs up in stirrups. Your healthcare provider will insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina in order to see your cervix. The provider then painlessly swipes the surface of the cervix to obtain a small sample of superficial cells. This specimen is sent to the lab to check for abnormal cells (cervical dysplasia) and possibly the presence of human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus that causes most cervical cancers.
Recovery After a Pap Test
Once your Pap test is complete, you may return to normal activity immediately following the procedure. It generally takes about a week to get your test results. Once your provider has your Pap test results, he or she will discuss your options with you. In the instance of an abnormal Pap test result, more testing may be required. Often, a repeat Pap test may be necessary.
UPMC providers offer Pap tests in Williamsport, Coudersport, Wellsboro, and surrounding areas of PA.