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Pap Smear

Prima Medicine -  - Internal Medicine

Prima Medicine

Internal Medicine & Family Medicine located in Fairfax, VA, South Riding, VA & Merrifield, VA

As a woman, your best defense against cervical cancer is routine screenings. At Prima Medicine, with offices in South Riding and Fairfax, Virginia, Chethana Rao, MD, and her compassionate staff offer routine, in-office Pap smears to identify cervical cell changes as early as possible. The team also provides women’s wellness exams to monitor the health of your reproductive system. If you haven’t had a Pap smear recently, you can coordinate your screening with a woman’s wellness exam and annual physical. Book an appointment now online or by calling the office nearest you.

Pap Smear Q & A

What is a Pap smear?

A Pap smear is a preventive screening tool that identifies abnormal cells in the cervix, which might indicate cervical cancer.

The minimally invasive test often occurs during your annual woman’s wellness exam, which evaluates the overall health of your vagina and reproductive organs.

When do I need a Pap smear?

Dr. Rao and her medical team recommend Pap smears for all women over age 21 or when you become sexually active.

Annual Pap smears provide Dr. Rao with the opportunity to assess your cervical health. If you have a personal or family history of cancer, you’ll need more frequent Pap smears.

Women over 65 and those who’ve had a total hysterectomy to remove the uterus and cervix can discuss with Dr. Rao the benefits of continuing with Pap smears. In some cases, the screening might no longer be necessary, provided you have no history of cancer.

How can I prepare for a Pap smear?

To achieve the most accurate results, it’s important that you avoid sex and using douche for at least two days before your test. The Prima Medicine staff also recommend stopping the use of birth control that contains spermicides, as they can cover up abnormal cervical cells.

If your period begins during your scheduled testing time, you should reschedule your appointment.

What can I expect during a Pap smear?

Dr. Rao performs your Pap smear during your routine pelvic exam. The process involves the collection of cells from the cervix, which is just above the vagina.

To collect the cell sample, Dr. Rao inserts a long cotton swab. The procedure might cause a brief moment of pressure but shouldn’t be painful.

Dr. Rao sends the collected sample to a lab for further analysis. Regardless if your results are positive or negative for cancer, she’ll call you within a few days to review your test results.

What if I have cervical cancer?

If your results show precancerous or cancerous cells, it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. Dr. Rao can discuss your specific results with you to determine your next steps.

If cervical cancer is a concern, Dr. Rao can refer you to a specialist for further treatment. She can also coordinate aftercare with your surgeon to ensure you have what you need to stay healthy.

To schedule your annual Pap smear, call the office nearest you today or use the convenient online booking feature.