If you have recently undergone a Pap smear, you know that it is an important method of screening used to detect any trace of cervical cancer and various other precancerous conditions in women. What you might not know is exactly what the results of a Pap test signify, and what treatment may be necessary if the results are abnormal.
Let’s talk about 10 excellent questions you can consider asking your gynecologist about the results of your Pap smear, and where you can go in Syracuse to see a trusted gynecologist who will help keep you healthy.
What to Know About Pap Smear Results
Some general questions to ask your OB/GYN about your Pap test include the following:
- What do my Pap smear results mean? Am I cancer-free, or are there any questionable factors?
- Do I need a follow-up Pap test? If the results of your Pap smear are inconclusive, further testing may be a necessary precautionary measure.
- Should I receive the HPV vaccine? The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents infection by a certain virus which can lead to cervical cancer. This virus can cause various cancers in both men and women, including throat cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer.
- What can put me at risk of developing cervical cancer? Although the vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by the HPV virus, other risk factors include having multiple sex partners, smoking, using oral contraceptives, and having HIV.
- How often should I have Pap tests? If this was your first Pap smear, you are under the age of 29, and your first test was normal, your gynecologist may recommend having the test every three years. If you are over 30 and testing has confirmed that you do not have the HPV virus in your system, your doctor may recommend having a Pap smear at a different frequency. The frequency will also be based on your family medical history, and whether any of your relatives have had reproductive cancers.
If your Pap smear results are abnormal, ask these questions about appropriate treatment:
- What are my treatment options? What do you recommend, and why? Depending on the stage of your cancer and your overall health, treatment options may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.
- What is the goal of each of these treatments? Ask your gynecologist about what to expect, and what the possible side effects are.
- What are the odds the cancer will return? Different treatments have different success rates. Recurrence of cervical cancer varies depending on the stage at which it was originally treated, and how aggressive the treatment was.
- Will this treatment adversely affect my ability to get pregnant in the future? If so, should I consult a fertility expert before starting treatment?
- Is it safe for me to have sex, particularly intercourse, while I’m undergoing treatment? You may have to wait to have sex for a few weeks – allowing your body to heal – after undergoing surgery or radiation therapy. However, after that, you can resume a normal sex life. Sex will not affect remission or make your cancer worse.
Reproductive and Sexual Health Services in Syracuse, New York
At University OB/GYN Associates, our staff of skilled medical professionals are committed to providing you with compassionate healthcare and the most up-to-date services. We serve women at every stage of their adult life, including advanced treatments in all aspects of gynecology.
For more information about Pap smear and HPV screening, as well as reproductive and sexual healthcare, call us today at (315) 464-5162 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you!