Regular pap smears are an important part of preventative care for women who are over 21 years old and/or sexually active. Women in and around the areas of Frederick, Mount Airy & Urbana, Maryland can rely on the experienced medical professionals at Capital Women's Care for safe, accurate pap smears.
A pap smear is a simple, non-invasive procedure doctors use to test women for cervical cancer. During the procedure, the doctor uses a small device to collect cells from the cervix. A laboratory analyzes these cells to make sure they are normal.
Cervical cancer is a common disease that can be deadly, but it is highly curable if it’s caught early. Regular pap smears allow doctors to catch cervical cancer in its earliest stages when it’s easiest to cure. In some cases, pap smears may also detect changes in cells that indicate a possibility of cancer in the future. Doctors can remove these cells and watch the patient more closely to prevent complications.
A normal pap smear result means that the laboratory didn’t find any abnormal cells in the sample the doctor collected. It is possible to have cancer and still have a normal pap smear, but the chances are small. An abnormal pap smear means that some of the cells in the sample didn’t look normal.
After an abnormal pap smear, patients typically require additional testing. Depending on the situation, the doctor may recommend a biopsy or a colposcopy, which examines the tissues of the cervix and vagina.
If the doctor discovers cancer, surgery to remove reproductive organs may be necessary. Depending on the extent of the cancer, the patient may also need chemotherapy or radiation therapy. If the doctor discovers precancerous cells during a pap smear, these cells can usually be removed with a minimally-invasive procedure performed in the doctor’s office.
Capital Women's Care recommends beginning pap smears at the age of 21. Patients should repeat the screening at least once every 3 years.
Some patients who are at a higher risk for cervical cancer may need more frequent pap smears. Risk factors for cervical cancer include a previous diagnosis of cervical cancer, a history of precancerous cells, HIV infection, exposure to certain medications before birth, and a weakened immune system.
We participate with most local and many national insurance plans. However it is your responsibility to understand whether your insurance has limits on the doctors you can see, or the services you can receive. If you provide complete and accurate information about your insurance, we will submit claims to your insurance carrier and receive payments for services. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be responsible for co-payments, co-insurance, or other deductible amounts. Not all providers participate with all insurance plans. We do not accept Medicaid. Don't hesitate to call if you have questions.
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