Cervical Cancer Screenings

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Your cervix is the lower part of your uterus—the part that connects the uterus to the vagina. If you’ve had children, you probably remember the cervix as an important indicator when childbirth was near—when women are ready to start labor, their cervix begins to dilate. Sometimes, the cells that line the cervix can begin to change, evidence as “pre-cancerous” changes, which could develop into cervical cancer if left unchecked. That’s why cervical cancer screening with a Pap smear and/or an HPV test is so important—it gives your provider the opportunity to catch pre-cancerous changes in your cervix early, when they are most easily treatable.

The following are some screenings and services available at Women First that help you prevent, screen for cervical cancer and treat some abnormal cervical changes.

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is extremely common—about one in four people contract HPV, and about 14 million new cases occur each year. HPV can affect the cervix, vagina or vulva (pubic area). Most people show no symptoms of HPV, and many cases disappear on their own in a couple of years. Most others respond to treatment. Some cases of HPV persist, however, and can lead to cancer of the areas affected. Every year, HPV causes more than 30,000 cancer cases in women and men in the United States. However, a simple vaccine can prevent more than 90 percent of these cancer cases.

Through this vaccine, you can significantly prevent cervical cancer if you get it before HPV exposure. The Gardisil® vaccine can prevent most HPV-related cancers when given to young adolescents at the ages of 11 or 12. The vaccine requires two doses, about six to 12 months apart. Women who didn’t get the vaccine at these ages can still benefit from the vaccine up to age 45. If you are 14 or older, you will need a series of three immunizations within six months. The Gardisil vaccine is available at Women First and through most pediatricians. For more information on the HPV vaccine, see the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) web site.

Pap smears are the most common way to screen for cervical cancer. A Pap smear is taken during a pelvic exam, when a few cells are scraped from the opening of the cervix and sent to the lab to analyze. Recently, guidelines for Pap smears have changed. While every woman should have an annual pelvic exam, a Pap smear may not be needed yearly. A Pap smear is not necessary until 21 years of age and is not usually needed after hysterectomy. Any time your Pap smear is abnormal, your provider will recommend additional testing as needed. Higher-risk women may require Pap smears annually or more often.

If you have an abnormal Pap smear, a common next step is a colposcopy. This is a more detailed look at the cervix, and allows your doctor to closely examine your cervix, vagina and vulva for problems.

The colposcopy is done right in our Women First office, like a Pap smear during a pelvic exam, with a magnifying instrument called a colposcope that can examine closely and allow us to biopsy your cervix. The procedure may involve swabbing your vagina with a solution to help highlight suspicious cells. Your Women First Care Team will let you know when you can expect results and what your next steps will be.

If your test results from your colposcopy are abnormal, we may recommend a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for further evaluation and/or treatment. LEEP is one way to remove abnormal cells from the cervix by using a thin wire loop, with an electric current passed through it, to cut away a thin layer of the cervix. This procedure takes only a few minutes in the Women First office. Your provider will insert a speculum in your vagina, like during a pelvic exam, and give a local anesthesia (a shot through a small needle) before using the loop to remove abnormal cells.

Is it Time to Schedule Your Annual Wellness Exam?

Your annual women’s health appointment is a vital part of your health care, and the perfect time to talk to your Care Team about your personal health questions.

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Is it Time to Schedule Your Annual Wellness Exam?

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What People Are Saying

Toni G
I've been seeing Dr. Price for many years and have always had a great experience with her. Dr. Price has always listened to me and addressed all of my questions and concerns. My only complaint is with a former nurse I saw for medical issues who didn't further investigate them and it got progressively worse. Luckily the current nurse practitioner diagnosed me correctly and have received the correct treatment.
Morgan Miller
When I was looking for a gyno, Jeanette and Dr. Booth came highly recommended from family that see them and rightly so! Jeanette has the best bedside manner and takes the time to be thorough and understand the patient. When I had an issue outside of office hours, I was able to submit a question on the Follow My Health app and got a phone call in less than 30 minutes from the care team. They’re the best and I tell everyone about them!
Jennifer Stephens
I’ve been a patient at Women 1st for 16 years and cannot say enough about this practice. Every staff member is caring, friendly, and very good at what they do. The physicians & nurses are some of the best in the state of Kentucky, which is why I currently live in Georgetown and drive to Louisville to continue my care. Highly recommend Dr. Warren or Dr. Price!
Kailee Kaiser
Jeannette Jaggers, APRN is GREAT! I drive a hour and a half just to see her! Makes you feel comfortable and truly cares about YOU! Very happy to have her as my OB/GYN.