Annual Exams and Testing

Pap Tests

For most women, a Pap test is recommended once each year, starting at age 21, or sooner if you are sexually active before that age.

The annual Pap test—a simple, in-office procedure to determine if there are changes to the cells of your cervix—can save your life. It’s normal for the cells of the cervix to grow and shed continually, but sometimes these cells can change and become abnormal—an early warning of cancer.

Like other cancers, cervical cancer is much more likely to be cured if detected and treated early. Cervical cancer, progresses from normal tissue, to precancerous (dysplastic) cells, to invasive cancer—so regular exams and early detection are very important.

During the Pap test, an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina and used to hold the vagina open while your doctor uses a small swab to collect cells from several areas of your cervix. These cells are transferred to a liquid or slide and sent to a lab to be studied.

One of the most common reasons for an abnormal Pap result is infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cell changes known as dysplasia. HPV does not cause symptoms, so many people who are infected are unaware that they have it. If your Pap results indicate HPV, further testing may be needed. Click here to learn about vaccines for prevention.

To learn more about other causes of abnormal Pap results, further testing and treatment, click here.

A regular Pap test is a key part of actively managing your health. Don’t put it off. Click here to contact our office to schedule your exam.

Detecting and Treating Breast Problems

All women are at risk for breast cancer. Did you know that 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease?

Most breast problems cannot be seen or felt in the early stages and are detected by annual mammogram screenings. Others can begin with very minor symptoms that you can catch between your annual exams with regular self-examination of your breasts. To increase your chances of catching breast cancer early, you should
  • Know how to do self-exams regularly and
  • Have regular breast screenings as recommended for your age group and risk factors
As part of your annual exam, your doctor will
  • Examine your breasts in her office to identify any signs of concern
  • Teach you how to do self-exams
  • Discuss the recommended frequency of this and or other screening techniques

A mammogram requires an order from your doctor. Our office will be happy to provide you with the order and the information you need to schedule the appropriate test for you.

Click here to contact us to schedule an appointment for your annual exam.