The human papillomavirus (HPV) currently ranks as the most common STD in the United States. HPV also causes cervical cancer, a disease you can detect and treat at an early stage if you get routine Pap smears. The exceptional team at KEM Health Obstetrics & Gynecology  in Atlanta, Georgia, offer Pap smears together with advanced treatment should your test reveal signs of precancerous changes or cancer. If it’s time for a Pap smear, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

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What is a Pap smear?

When you get a Pap smear, your provider at KEM Health Obstetrics & Gynecology uses a small brush or swab to gently remove a sample of cells from your cervix. The cells go to a lab, where the tissues are examined under a microscope. The lab specialists identify abnormal and cancerous cells in your Pap smear.

Why do I need routine Pap smears?

You need routine Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. With regular screening, you can find early cellular changes, which gives you the chance to prevent or cure cervical cancer.

Many women get HPV that leads to cancer, but their immune system eliminates the virus. Unfortunately, HPV takes hold in the cervix in some women, where it gradually causes abnormal cell growth. When these changes go undetected, they progress to cervical cancer.

When should I have a Pap smear?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all women over the age of 21 should have a Pap smear every three years. But if you’re between the ages of 30-65, you may consider a Pap smear together with an HPV test every five years.

What happens if I have an abnormal Pap smear?

The lab report provides detailed information about the types of abnormal cells and the severity of the cellular changes found in an abnormal Pap smear.

If your Pap results show mild changes, your provider at KEM Health Obstetrics & Gynecology may recommend an HPV test. Or they may suggest that you wait a short time, give your body time to eliminate the virus, and then repeat your Pap smear.

When your Pap results show moderate to severe cellular changes, or your repeat test comes back with positive results, your provider does a minimally invasive procedure called a colposcopy.

What happens during a colposcopy?

A medical device called a colposcope gives your provider a magnified view of your cervix. During a colposcopy, they treat your cervix with a solution that highlights abnormal cells, then they look through the scope and examine your cervix.

Your provider removes any abnormal tissues using a technique such as a LEEP cervical biopsy. The LEEP procedure uses a thin, wire loop to remove the tissues and then cauterizes the area to stop any bleeding.

If you need to schedule an annual exam or Pap smear, book online or call the office today.