Gynecology

Pap Smear Exams in Dalton, GA

What is a Pap Smear?

A Pap smear or Pap test is a routine procedure used to screen women for cervical cancer. The whole examination is quite simple, as it only requires a swab of cells from the woman’s cervix for testing.

What Does a Pap Smear Test?

To better understand why it’s not necessary to have an annual pap smear, it’s important to know exactly what the doctor is looking for during the exam. A pap test checks the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, for abnormal cell changes. Cells can change and, if they aren’t detected and treated, it can lead to cervical cancer.

Why Aren’t Annual Pelvic Exams or Pap Smears Required Anymore?

If pap smears can help detect cancer, why are physicians finding that they aren’t necessary to have annually? Here are a few reasons annual pelvic exams and pap smears aren’t required every year:

  • There are too many false positives – Frequent screening leads to more frequent need for follow up tests that can be invasive and have unwanted side effects, including problems related to future pregnancies and delivery, as well as increased anxiety and time away from work or home.
  • Screening every three years is perfectly safe – Studies show that screening every three years is adequate for early detection.
  • Women are getting pap smears too young – Women under the age of 21 shouldn’t be getting a pap smear because it increases the odds of false positives even more. At the age of 21, women should get their first pap smear and talk to their physician about what they suggest about pelvic exams in the future.

New Recommendations for Pap Smears

Here are the recommendations for women who are at an average risk for cervical cancer:

  • Under the age of 21: No pap smear necessary
  • 21 to 29: Pap smear required once every three years
  • 30 to 65: Pap smear required every three years or a combination of a Pap smear and HPV test every five years.
  • More than 65: No pap smear necessary if all recent screenings have been normal

Please note that it’s still important to see your OBGYN more than once every three years for proper preventive care and for questions about women’s health.

Schedule an Appointment in Dalton, GA

Call our office at (706) 226-3373 to schedule your pap smear or pelvic exam today.

Call us at (706) 226-3373

Coronavirus Advisory

North Georgia Women’s Center is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updates from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please make sure to contact us via phone prior to your appointment. You may also contact us for any additional questions by calling our office at (706) 226-3373.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control