Cervical Cancer Screening

At About Women OB-GYN, your annual exam includes a Pap exam, which collects cells from the cervix to screen for cervical cancer or potentially precancerous conditions such as infection, inflammation, or abnormal cells. A Pap exam, along with a pelvic exam, is an important part of a woman's routine healthcare because it may detect abnormalities that can lead to invasive cancer. Most cancers of the cervix can be detected early if women have Pap exams and pelvic examinations regularly. As with many types of cancer, cancer of the cervix is more likely to be successfully treated if it is detected early.

The Pap exam is useful for detecting not only cancerous cells, but also other cervical and vaginal abnormalities including dysplasia (precancerous cells) and inflammation. Inflammation may be caused by:

  • Yeast infections
  • Trichomoniasis infections
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Medications or other chemicals
  • Hormones
  • Pregnancy
  • Miscarriage

Who Should Have Pap Exams?

At About Women OB-GYN, we recommend a Pap exam as part of your annual exam. Although many insurers will now pay for Pap exams no more frequently every two or three years, we believe that having this screening for cervical cancer or its precursors every year is an important precaution for your health. If your insurance does not cover an annual Pap exam, your About Women clinician will discuss your options with you based on your age, medical history, and risk factors. Please note that, even if you do not have coverage for an annual Pap exam, it is still very important to have an annual pelvic exam and breast exam.