Pap Smear

Board Certified Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in La Mesa, El-Cajon and San Diego, CA

Pap Smear

Pap smears are routine tests that detect cervical cancer before it becomes a life-threatening problem. Elahe Toulouie MD Inc. performs Pap smears at offices in La Mesa, El Cajon, and San Diego, California. Dr. Toulouie and her team of experienced internists understand women’s concerns and ensure the experience is fast and painless. Call your nearest office to arrange a life-saving Pap smear or schedule a consultation online today.

Pap Smear Q & A

What is a Pap smear?

A Pap smear is a straightforward procedure that screens for cervical cancer. When you visit Elahe Toulouie MD Inc., you remove your underwear, and your provider positions you carefully on your back with your knees bent and dropped to either side.

This procedure enables your provider to access your vagina. They gently insert a speculum — an instrument that opens your vagina enough to access your cervix. They insert a cotton swab and wipe it over the cervix, gathering cells. They withdraw the swab and speculum and send the sample for lab testing.

A Pap smear shouldn’t be painful, although you might find it uncomfortable if you tense up. It only takes a few minutes, and then you can proceed with your day.

Why do I need a Pap smear?

Cervical cancer is a life-threatening condition when it reaches an advanced stage. However, if treated early, success rates are very high. A Pap smear can detect cancerous cells long before symptoms develop, ensuring you get treatment promptly.

Furthermore, the test identifies cell changes that happen before you develop cancer. Treating these precancerous cells prevents cervical cancer in most cases, which is only possible if you have regular Pap smears.

If you’re in good health and have no cervical cancer risk factors, your provider performs a Pap smear every three years from age 21 until you reach 65. It often becomes part of a routine well-woman exam.

If you’re over 30, you could have a Pap smear every five years, providing the test also screens for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection — the leading cause of cervical cancer.

My Pap smear is positive — do I have cancer?

A positive Pap smear result doesn’t mean you have cancer. The test detects all cervical cell changes, often due to infections or inflammation. This test might not require any treatment – just getting another one in a few months to double-check.

A positive smear sometimes means you have precancerous cells on your cervix that could develop into cancer if left. Your provider explains what your situation is and what happens next.

If your abnormal cells need investigating, you might need a colposcopy,  a straightforward internal exam where your provider examines the cervix and removes tissue samples (biopsies) for lab testing.

Call Elahe Toulouie MD Inc. to arrange your Pap smear or book an appointment online today.