Cervical cancer screening is a routine part of every woman’s health and wellness plan. With advances in testing and tools, many women no longer need a cervical cancer screening every year. At Pacifica Health, with locations in Monterey Park, California, and the East Hollywood and Chinatown neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the women’s health experts can talk to you about your cervical cancer screening and perform the necessary testing. To learn more, call one of the offices or book an appointment online.
Cervical cancer starts in the cells found in your cervix. It was once the most common cause of cancer death in women. However, today’s routine cervical cancer screenings help find cervical cancer early when it’s more responsive to treatment.
Cervical cancer occurs when mutations in the DNA of your cervical cells trigger an overgrowth of abnormal cells, which leads to the development of a tumor.
Though researchers are still trying to understand what causes the cervical cells’ DNA to mutate, it’s known that certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in cervical cancer.
Getting the HPV vaccine may protect you and reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer screening includes the routine tests offered at Pacifica Health to assess your current and future risk for cervical cancer. The screenings include a Pap smear and an HPV test.
During a Pap smear, your provider at Pacifica Health gently swabs a collection of cells from your cervix. These cells are then sent to a lab and examined by a pathologist who looks for abnormalities.
A Pap smear may find cancerous or precancerous cervical cells as well as other anomalies.
The HPV test is similar to the Pap smear and requires a collection of cells from your cervix. However, the pathologist at the lab examines the cells to look for strains of HPV that may increase your risk of cervical cancer.
Your doctor at Pacifica Health determines when you need cervical cancer screening. The type and frequency of your screenings depend on your age, personal medical history, family history, and results of prior screenings.
In general, women should start getting Pap smears at age 21 and then repeat the cervical cancer screening every three years until they reach age 65.
The providers at Pacifica Health perform the HPV test when you turn 30. If your HPV test and Pap smear are normal, you only need to repeat your cervical cancer screening every five years.
If your cervical cancer screening results are positive or abnormal, your provider may request additional tests to confirm or rule out cervical cancer. Testing includes a colposcopy and biopsy of your cervical tissue.
A positive cervical cancer screening doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. However, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings to monitor you and your health.
Cervical cancer screenings save lives. Call Pacifica Health or book an appointment online to schedule your screening today.