by Rachel Burt, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at Roswell OB/GYN………………………………….
It might feel a little shocking to hear you do not need a pap smear each year. But, it might be true for you.
In patients over 30 with no prior history of abnormal pap smears, we screen for abnormal cells on your cervix and the HPV virus. The HPV virus is what causes the cells on the cervix to become abnormal. If you do not have HPV and your cells are normal, your chances for developing cervical cancer over a 3 year time period are extremely low. Previously, we were not capable of detecting the HPV virus on the pap smears. With this new technology, we are confident to wait 3 years between pap smears. However, you do need a pelvic exam and breast exam yearly.
Sometimes patients forget that the yearly exam is not only a pap smear. During your yearly exam, you should also expect a breast and pelvic exam. The purpose of the breast exam is obvious – we are making sure there are no palpable abnormalities in the breast tissue. The pelvic exam helps us to screen for ovarian cancer and any abnormalities with the uterus. Pap smears only screen for cervical cancer. Although we may only need to do your pap smear every 3 years, you still need a yearly breast and pelvic exam.
We’ll see you next year!
Please schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk more about it. You can reach us at 770 751 3600.