Screen Sisters, Screen! Understanding Pap Smears

According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer among women.¹ The American Cancer Society estimates that over 13,000 women were diagnosed in 2023 alone.² Early detection of cervical cancer is key to increasing the likelihood of survivorship. Luckily, women can opt to receive pap smears to find any abnormalities present in the cervix. Keep reading to understand the key reasons why you should get screened!

Reason 1. Screening saves lives. The statistics don’t lie! Since the implementation of systematic cervical cancer screenings in the US from the 1960’s, cervical cancer incidence and deaths have declined by 75%.³ This statistic alone should encourage you to get screened!

Reason 2. Pap smears are especially for those who are at higher risk of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is 6 times more likely among women living with HIV.1 Furthermore, the human papilloma virus (HPV), is another sexually transmitted virus that is strongly linked with cervical cancer. While most HPV infections can clear on their own, unresolved infections can lead to cervical cancer. Lastly, cervical cancer is more prevalent among African-American women.⁴ Women in any of the categories mentioned above should strongly consider getting routine cervical cancer screening.

Reason 3. The exam itself can be done within minutes. Not only is the procedure fast, but you can schedule this exam in the office of a trusted provider. This may be different from receiving a breast mammogram, where oftentimes a referral is needed. Within this exam, the provider will obtain cells from the cervix to be sent for laboratory testing.

To conclude, cervical cancer is a treatable disease if detected early. It is important to have discussion with your provider regarding an appropriate screening schedule based on your age and prior pap smear results. Please schedule an appointment with us for your pap smear!

  1. Cervical cancer. Accessed January 8, 2024.
  2. Cervical Cancer Statistics | Key Facts About Cervical Cancer. Accessed January 8, 2024.
  3. Safaeian M, Solomon D, Castle PE. Cervical cancer prevention–cervical screening: science in evolution. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2007;34(4):739-ix. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2007.09.004
  4. Yu L. Rural–Urban and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Invasive Cervical Cancer Incidence in the United States, 2010–2014. Prev Chronic Dis. 2019;16. doi:10.5888/pcd16.180447

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