Womens Health Screening Tests: Pap Smears / Cervical Screening
Pap Smear / Cervical Screening is a normal part of being a woman and an important role for our caring team at Robina Town Women’s Health Clinic. Most women do feel some embarrassment having a Pap Smear but the reality is it could save your life.
Why Do Women Need Pap Smears / Cervical Screening?
Females who are 18 – 70 and have ever had sex should have Pap smears every two years. This includes females who have had the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine, Gardasil.
Regular Pap Smears detect changes in the cervix (the neck of the womb) and are currently the best way to prevent cervical cancer. The early stages of cervical cancer presents no symptoms. The only way to know if you have abnormal cells in your cervix is to have a Pap test. When early changes are detected, they can be checked or treated if needed, prior to developing into cancer.
What is a Pap Smear Test?
The whole procedure is simple and is usually completed in just a few minutes. Your doctor gently inserts a medical instrument called a ‘speculum’ into the vagina, to get a clear view of your cervix. They then insert a tiny brush or spatula to collect cells from the cervix. After the cells are collected, they’re placed on a glass slide and sent to a laboratory and examined under a microscope to look for abnormalities which if left untreated could lead to cervical cancer.
What Happens if Your Pap Test Results are Abnormal?
If you have an abnormal smear, further investigation may be required, for instance a biopsy or colposcopy. Your doctor will guide you on what happens next and treatment options.
What is the cost?
Pap Smears are $75, with some rebate from Medicare. Every 3 months the practice runs a weekend pap smear clinic and this is a convenient opportunity to tick your routine pap smear off your ‘to do’ list.
If you have any questions about Pap Smears our friendly female team are here to help.
Keeping up to date with changes to the Pap Smear program in 2017:
In late 2017, the current Pap Smear program will be replaced with Cervical Screening. Here’s some further information to help prepare you for this change:
Cervical cancer is caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that can be detected using Cervical Screening. Cervical Screening is a test that is needed less frequently than a Pap Smear and is considered to be more effective. The cervical screening test will detect HPV before abnormal cell changes occur. This offers the best chance of detecting cervical changes early and helping to prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical testing is also a great opportunity for women to also have a sexual health screen, which can detect infections that can permanently affect fertility. The test will be available for women aged 25 upwards and women will be screened every 5 years if tests are negative. If HPV testing is positive, the cells from the cervix will be looked at to decide what follow up needs to occur.
Pap Smears every 2 years remain the best protection against cervical cancer and it’s vital that women continue their current Pap Smear program until the cervical screening program is available.
If you haven’t kept your pap smears up to date, book an appointment with one of our GP’s today. Alternatively, contact our Reception team to find out when our next quarterly Pap Smear clinic will be held.