Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida is offering a Free Pap Day to patients at three of our health center locations.
At Planned Parenthood we are focused on YOU, your body, and your reproductive health. Part of taking care of yourself is taking care of your sexual and reproductive health and that includes getting important tests like Pap tests.
So, let’s start from the beginning: A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer. If you have a vagina, you will need a Pap test at some point in your life.
It only takes a few minutes and could save your life.
A Pap smear involves collecting cells from your cervix — the lower, narrow end of your uterus that's at the top of your vagina. Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear gives you a greater chance at a cure.
It can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a Pap smear is your first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer. The Pap smear is the only procedure that can detect early cancerous or potentially cancerous conditions of the cervix and vagina.
Do I Need a Pap Test?
How often you get a Pap test depends on your age, medical history, and the results of your last Pap or HPV tests.
You should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21. How often you get tested after that depends on your age, medical history, and the results of your last Pap or HPV tests.
Typically you should get a pap test if:
If you’re 21–29 years old, get a Pap test once every 3 years.
If you’re 30–65 years old, get a Pap test and HPV test (co-testing) once every 5 years, or just a Pap test or HPV test every 3 years.
If you’re older than 65, you may not need Pap tests anymore.
You may need to get tested more often if you’ve had problems with your cervix before or have a weak immune system. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will tell you which tests you need and how often you should get them.
Talk to your doctor about the need for more-frequent Pap smears if you:
have had an abnormal Pap smear
have had cancer or precancerous tissue growth in the cervix
How can I prepare?
To ensure that your Pap smear is most effective, follow these tips prior to your test:
Avoid intercourse, douching, or using any vaginal medicines or spermicidal foams, creams or jellies for two days before having a Pap smear, as these may wash away or obscure abnormal cells.
Do not schedule a Pap smear during your menstrual period.
If you are concerned about discomfort, you may take a small dosage of Ibuprofen before you arrive at the doctor’s office to help ward off cramping. Make sure you tell your doctor or nurse practitioner about any medications you are currently taking.
What can I expect?
During a Pap test...
Your doctor or nurse practitioner puts a metal or plastic speculuminto your vagina. The speculum opens up to separate the walls of your vagina so that they can get to your cervix. Then they use a small sampler — a tiny spatula or brush — to gently collect cells from your cervix. The cells are sent to a lab to be tested.
Pap tests only take a few minutes. They shouldn't hurt, but you might feel some discomfort or pressure when your doctor or nurse practitioner opens the speculum inside you.
When will I get my results?
Pap test results at Planned Parenthood health centers usually take between 7-10 days. Results may vary by patient.
Where can I go for a Pap test?
You can always get a Pap test at your local Planned Parenthood health center. Cost of the test will vary depending on your insurance coverage or if you are paying out-of-pocket.
If you would like to get a free Pap test, schedule an appointment for one of our upcoming Free Pap Test days.
Free Testing at Three Locations
Monday, Sept. 25th
At Wellington Health Center
10111 Forest Hill Blvd
Wellington, FL 33414
9:00am to 1:00pm