Bayhealth is reminding residents that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Each year in the U.S. approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 die as a result. Bayhealth OB/GYN Miaohou Xu, MD, helps explain why cervical screening is so important for women's health:
What is cervical screening? A test called a “pap smear” or “pap test” helps health care providers look at the cells on a woman’s cervix. If the cells are unusual, follow-up testing helps providers learn more and intervene when necessary.
Who should have the test? Women aged 21 and older should have the test. Even if you are/were sexually active before age 21, the test is not recommended until age 21.
Where can I get a pap test? Your regular doctor or provider can do the test. You do not need to go to a specialist. Gynecologists also do the tests.
How does the test work? The pap test is very quick. The provider will gather cells from your cervix using a special brush. Most women do not find this painful or even feel it.
Page 2 of 2 - A laboratory will examine the cells and look for signs of pre-cancerous lesions. The human papilloma virus, or HPV, is the most common cause of abnormal cells. Depending on the test results, your provider may recommend additional testing.
To learn more, visit bayhealth.org.