Abnormal Pap Smear
Pap smears are always included in your yearly pelvic exam because they screen for cervical cancer. The doctors at Naples Women’s Center recommend regular Pap smears because cervical cancer is treatable when it’s found at an early stage. If you haven’t had a Pap smear in a few years, please don’t wait any longer, contact us to schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cervical cancer begins when cells in the cervix begin to grow at an abnormally rapid pace. At first, the cells go through pre-cancerous changes. At this stage, some women will develop cancer, while others won’t, even without treatment. For those who develop cancer, it typically takes several years for the precancerous stage to become cervical cancer.
A virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. The type of HPV that causes cervical cancer is transmitted during sexual intercourse with a person who’s already infected with HPV. You can get HPV from having any type of sex and even when your partner doesn’t have any symptoms of the virus.
In some women, HPV doesn’t cause any problems because the immune system suppresses the virus within 1-2 years. In others, the virus invades healthy cells in the cervix, which causes them to grow abnormally.
Cervical cancer usually doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stage. As the cells turn cancerous and begin to affect surrounding tissues, you may develop symptoms such as:
Abnormal vaginal bleeding: Longer, heavier, bleeding between periods or after menopause, bleeding after sex
Unusual discharge from the vagina
Pain during sex
These symptoms should never be ignored, so please contact Naples Women’s Center for a thorough examination. You may not have cervical cancer, but if you do, early detection and treatment is vital.