Thanks to preventive screening measures like Pap smears, it’s possible to detect cervical cancer early on, when it’s most responsive to treatment. At Optimal Health Medical Clinic, Lilian Laimo, APRN, FNP-BC, and the team offer a comprehensive suite of women’s health services, including Pap smears and well-woman exams. To make an in-person or telemedicine appointment at the practice in Mesa, Arizona, call the office to speak with a friendly staff member today.
A Pap smear is a preventive screening measure that diagnoses cervical cancer. During a Pap smear, Lilian takes a sample of cells from your cervix with a cotton swab. Then, she sends your sample to a laboratory that analyzes it for the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells.
A Pap smear is quick and relatively pain-free. Following your appointment, there’s no recovery period so you can return to work or other routine activities right away.
Lilian and the team recommend every woman 21 and older receive a Pap smear once every three years. You might need more frequent tests if you're HIV positive or have a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy or an organ transplant.
If you’re over 30 and don’t have a history of abnormal test results, Lilian might recommend getting a Pap smear once every five years. After the age of 65, you may be able to stop having Pap smears altogether.
Try to schedule your Pap smear for a time outside your menstrual cycle. If the test occurs during your period, the results won’t be as accurate. Before visiting, avoid having sex or using a douche. During your appointment, stay calm, take deep breaths, and follow Lilian’s instructions. The entire process typically takes 10-15 minutes.
During a Pap smear, it’s normal to experience some mild discomfort or a sensation of pressure but it should subside quickly. If you experience cramping or light bleeding after the test, let Lilian and the team know.
A well woman exam is a physical that’s tailored to your health history and needs. It includes several gender-specific services, including a Pap smear, mammogram, and pelvic exam. These measures help Lilian and the team detect potentially serious health problems early on when they’re most responsive to treatment.
Even if you feel healthy, it’s important to schedule a well woman exam at least once a year. Many health problems don’t present symptoms early on so you might be at risk and not realize it.
To learn more about Pap smears and well woman exams, make an appointment at Optimal Health Medical Clinic by calling the office to speak with a friendly staff member or clicking the online booking tool.