We all have our to-do lists and usually, the uncomfortable items get pushed to the bottom of that list. If you’ve been putting off your pap smear, know you’re not alone. This is a reminder to call your local female GP and book yours today. If you’re feeling nervous, or it’s been a while between pap smears, we cover everything you need to know below, so you feel prepared and empowered.
What is a pap smear?
A few changes have happened in the last few years. Pap smears are now called a CST; Cervical Screening Test. The change in name came along with a change in the type of test being done. The sample is still collected in a similar way, but thanks to the progress of medicine, the test actually checks for the presence of the virus that causes cervical cancer, rather than the changes to the cells as a result of the virus. Therefore, this testing and results are a lot more accurate.
How often should I get a pap smear?
Sometimes, people who have the HP virus don’t always have symptoms. The idea of having regular CST’s is to catch the virus early on before cervical cancer is extensive. When caught early it can be easily treated, with improved outcomes for the patient.
You now only need to have a pap smear every 5 years now, rather than every two, as long as there are no new symptoms in between.
Thanks to the HPV vaccine that we now receive in high school, your first CST does not need to occur until you turn 25 years old!
What if I feel nervous about getting pap smears?
It’s completely normal to feel nervous about having a pap smear. The best thing you can do is let your GP know you are feeling anxious. They will then explain the process to you and talk you through the steps or discuss your concerns. The procedure itself takes a few minutes, and while it is uncomfortable, it should not be painful.
Self collection is also now an option as well for those who are hesitant to go through the procedure and can be discussed during your consult.
Dr Issma Katib at Baylife Medical is extensively experienced in women’s health, and has a kind and gentle approach when treating and caring for her patients. Located in Neutral Bay, Dr Issma Katib sees patients from North Sydney, Neutral Bay, Cremorne, Mosman and more. Taking new patients now, it’s easy to make an appointment online or call us to find out more.