Why Pap smears are important

One of the most important things a woman can do to ensure optimal health is to schedule annual Pap smears.…
Why Pap smears are important
Foto: Flickr

One of the most important things a woman can do to ensure optimal health is to schedule annual Pap smears. Not only does this help women know if she has any health issues she needs to address, but this simple test can also protect her from the potential development of cervical cancer. The procedure itself may not comfortable for many women, but that shouldn’t prevent someone from scheduling an appointment important check.

Women can rest assured that their testing will be completed with the utmost professionalism, but that fact does not mean the test is 100% accurate. In fact, it is impossible for Pap smears to come back with 100% accurate results. Because no one can predict which woman will and will not develop cervical cancer, these tests should still be conducted annually. As with any type of cancer, early detection is the key. Pap smears allow heath care providers to examine changes in the cervix and detect precancerous tissue changes before cancer actually develops.

Studies indicate that women who have their tests conducted regularly–every year if possible–are less likely to develop cervical cancer than women who don’t test regularly and who therefore don’t receive early treatment for precancerous cells found on the cervix. Studies have also found that up to 80% of women who have new cervical cancer diagnoses have not seen their doctor to have Pap smears conducted in at least five years.

Women should keep in mind, though, that even when these tests are conducted annually, cervical cancer can still develop. However, the early detection from Pap smears allows for early diagnosis. In turn, this early diagnosis often means the cervical cancer is still in a curable stage. Another fact women should keep in mind is that, when she has at least three tests that come back with normal results in a row, her doctor may recommend testing less often. Don’t get too anxious waiting on results. Having a healthy diet can help your body be in peak condition, so always eat healthy while keeping up with your Pap smears.

A woman who has more than one sexual partner might need to test more often. This is also necessary if the woman was sexually active as a teen, has had more than one abnormal test result, or has a sexually transmitted disease. Other factors that would lead a doctor to suggest more frequent Pap smear testing is if the woman is a smoker or if she has HPV (human papillomavirus).