Preventive medicine

Papanicolaou

What is Papanicolaou?Papanicolaou: is the most efficient way to test for an early detection of Cervical Cancer. Also referred to as a Pap-smear this testing procedure was created by George Papanikolaou, a physician and PHD of Greek Origin.

A Pap-smear basically works by gathering samples from the cervix and subsequently evaluating them in search for abnormal cells that might indicate a cancerous presence.

It is important to note that a Papanicolaou test or Pap – Smear does not screen against all Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). In order to look for STDs other methods can be provided by the physician at hand. It is recommended for women to begin Pap-Smear screening as early as 18 years of age.

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) & Papanicolaou: is a virus that mainly affects the human skin. There are more than 100 varieties of HPV which can cause both genital and Non-genital (Example: hands and feet) warts. Of these, about 30 types are commonly passed on through sexual contact. HPV in women is one the main responsible causes of cervical cancer.

The Clinic Virgen de Guadalupe has being around for over 20 years and provides this health service through a Gynecologist with Papanicolaou or Pap-Smear Check-upsHPV is one of the most common forms of (Sexually Transmitted Infections) STIs and affects tens of millions of people in the United States alone.

This being said it is important to clarify that HPV is passed through skin contact and not through the exchange of bodily fluids.

According to the American Social Health Association (ASHA - www.ashastd.org ), for ages between 15 and 49 years of age, nearly 3 out of 4 individuals in the United States alone are believed to have been infected with HPV.

In women, about 30 types of HPV are considered to create a risk factor for Cervical Cancer. The common spread of HPV makes it the more urgent that women get a Papanicolaou or Pap-Smear test. In order to obtain a more accurate result for HPV a Pap-Smear may need to be accompanied by a DNA test of the region being examined.

NOTE: HPV can remain hidden for months even years making it difficult if not impossible to identify the transmittal of the disease. This increases the necessity for Check-ups.

Facts and Recommendations:

  • Non Sexually Active Women: Cervical Cancer may take over 10 years to develop. As such, women that have ceased sexually activity need to continue regular screaning.
  • Condoms: the use of a condom as preservative does not guarantee a protection against HPV which is one of the main causes of Cervical Cancer. This is due to the fact that HPV is passed on through skin contact and not through bodily fluids.
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention: if detected early, cervical cancer is almost completely preventable.
  • Recommended Papanicolaou or Pap-Smear Check-ups:
    • Women 18 to 29 it is recommended to get a Pap-Smear once every two years.
    • 30 to 59 once per year.
    • 60 and above

NOTE: it is considered safe for women who are 30 or older who have had 3 Normal pap-smear test in a row, to get a new Papanicolaou once every 3 years.

Clinica Medica Virgen de Guadalupe has being around for over 20 years and provides this health service through a Gynecologist. Feel free to call us for an appointment.