Mammograms, PAP smears, and pelvic exams. These words can evoke fear in most women, however, these medical exams are incredibly important when it comes to staying on top of your health. These exams help with early detection and eventually treatment of cervical cancer, breast cancer, and STIs.
A mammogram is an x-ray of your breasts. This provides physicians with an inside look at your breast tissue and can reveal the presence of cancer to doctors even in patients who lack symptoms. Because this tool gives us an inside look at your breasts, it can detect tumors that cannot be felt.
It is recommended that women begin getting mammograms at the age of 40, as regular mammograms have been proven to reduce the amount of deaths caused by breast cancer in women 40-75.
The mammogram is painless, non-invasive, and usually completed in 20 minutes or less. One of the best ways to get to the most out of a mammogram is to make sure you keep a record of your past mammograms that you bring to your current appointment. This allows the doctor to compare past records to your current records and to note any changes that might be important to recognize.
Additionally, do not wear deodorant or antiperspirant to your appointment, as these could show up on the film and disrupt test results.
The PAP smear is a test used to detect cervical cancer in a woman. It can also detect changes in your cervical cells, which could indicate the presence of precancerous cells. This exam is quick and painless.
Once you arrive at Dr. Drai’s office, you’ll be called into an exam room where the doctor will then use a speculum to access your cervix and quickly swipe cells from the surface. He will then place the cell sample into a collection container and send that off to a lab. You’ll have your results in a few days.
Negative results are good. They mean that nothing out of the ordinary was found. A positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer, however, it can mean that you have minor cell changes or some inflammation. Depending on the exact findings, the doctor might want to monitor you a little more closely.
The pelvic exam is used to visually and physically inspect the health of your vagina, ovaries, and uterus. It often includes a PAP smear, along with a visual exam that looks for any sores, inflammation, or abnormalities. An internal visual exam is also performed.
During the physical exam the doctor will use his hands to palpate your abdomen internally. This helps him feel your ovaries and note any growths or abnormalities. While it sounds uncomfortable, Dr. Drai does an amazing job making his patients feel at ease and getting the exam completed efficiently and thoroughly.
If you’re in need of a pelvic exam, PAP smear, or mammogram, give us a call to schedule your appointment. We’ll be happy to set you up with a time that is convenient for you.