Every year in the United States an estimated 14,100 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. To lower your risk for complications from cervical cancer, Kevin Calhoun, MD, Shelly Calhoun, FNP-C, and the team at Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center offer routine Pap smears to screen for cancer-related changes in your cervix. Early detection and treatment of cancer prevent it from spreading and causing more serious complications that affect your long-term health. Call the office in Torrance, California, today to schedule a Pap smear or book an appointment online.

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What is a Pap smear?

A Pap smear is a preventive screening tool that identifies changes in the cells of your cervix. These changes can be an early warning sign of cervical cancer.

By detecting cervical cell changes in the earliest stage, you can lower your risk for complications cancer can cause.

Early detection of cervical cancer also ensures you get the treatment you need to prevent cancer from growing and spreading.

What is involved in a Pap smear?

The team at Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center performs a Pap smear during a routine pelvic exam. They use a small brush to scrape off a sample of cells from your cervix, the opening at the bottom of your uterus. The cell sample goes to a medical lab for further evaluation under a microscope.

A Pap smear is minimally invasive, and while you may feel some discomfort during the cell collection, the procedure isn’t painful. After your testing is complete, you might experience spotting for a few hours. You can return to your usual activities without limitations.

Getting abnormal Pap smear results doesn’t always mean that you have cancer. If you have sex in the hours before the test or have an infection, it can affect your test results.

The team discusses your Pap smear results with you a few days after your test. They can refer you for additional testing or treatment to remove the precancerous or cancerous cells if necessary.

How often do I need a Pap smear?

Typically, healthy women over 21 should have a Pap smear every three years. If you have a history of cancer or risk factors for cervical cancer, you may need a Pap smear more often.

The Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center team discusses how often you need testing after reviewing your personal and family medical histories, your current health, and your lifestyle.

You may not need additional Pap smears after undergoing a total hysterectomy to remove your uterus, cervix, and other reproductive organs. Women over 65 may also stop routine Pap smears if they have no history of cervical cancer concerns.

To schedule a Pap smear, call Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center today or book a consultation online.