Screening For Cervical Cancer and HPV

Pap smears, also called Pap tests, are usually performed during a pelvic exam to check for signs of cervical cancer and in many cases, HPV. As a board certified internal medicine physician, Debralee Frederick, MD, has extensive experience in performing Pap smears and helping women to better understand their reproductive and sexual health.


How Often Do I Need a Pap Smear?

How often you get a Pap smear is dependent on your age and medical history. The American Cancer Society recommends that women should start getting regular Pap smears at age 25. If you are over the age of 25 and have never had an abnormal Pap smear, Dr. Frederick may recommend having a Pap smear once every 5 years moving forward. If you are over the age of 65 and have never had an abnormal Pap smear, you are not required to have them in the future. However, if you have any of the following conditions or medical issues, you may need to get tested more frequently:

  • HIV positive

  • Weakened immune system from chemotherapy

  • HPV positive

Each patient is unique and deserves individualized care based on their specific medical needs. During a women’s healthcare appointment with us, Dr. Frederick can review your medical history and determine how frequently you should get Pap smears.

What is HPV?

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a viral infection caused by skin-to-skin contact or sexual contact. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection, as outlined by the CDC. Some varieties of HPV are relatively harmless and symptom-free, with 90% of HPV infections going away on their own in two years. Yet other, more serious strains of HPV can cause genital warts and increase your risk for cervical cancer. Many women who have contracted HPV do not realize they have it, which is why it is so important to undergo regular screenings.

What to Expect

Debralee Frederick, MD, of Hibiscus Medical can perform a Pap smear during an annual pelvic exam, or you can set up a separate appointment to have this screening done. Your Pap smear will occur in just a few simple steps:

  • You will first be asked to undress in private and change into a gown that opens at the front.

  • Dr. Frederick will then enter the room and direct you to lay back in the examination chair with your legs spread and insert your feet into stirrups.

  • She will then insert a speculum into your vagina that gently opens the walls of the vagina and allows Dr. Frederick access to your cervix.

  • Using a spatula or brush, Dr. Frederick will gently scrape the cervix to collect a sample of cells.

Pap smears may cause slight discomfort or a feeling of irritation or pressure, but should not be painful. Following your Pap smear appointment, a member of the Hibiscus Medical team will contact you with your screening results. There are two possible results:

No abnormal cells were found

Some abnormal cells were detected. While this does not necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer, it could be an indicator that there are precancerous cells present

If your Pap smear results come back abnormal, Dr. Frederick will either recommend more frequent Pap smears in the future or, if necessary, refer you to a specialist for further analysis and treatment.


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