Navigating a Pap smear
Peace and love through your next cyst-ers check
Have you turned 21 years old? Did you know that getting a Pap smear is highly recommended at the age of 21 for people with vaginas? Pap smears can be scary and uncomfortable at any age, although they don’t have to be. Information from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention can help navigate any questions there may be.
A Pap smear is a test that looks for cancerous cervical cells. The specific cells doctors are looking for are known as “cervical pre-cancers,” which are cells that indicate they may develop cancer later in the patient’s life. The Pap test is a way of observing these cells to look for something abnormal. If you get a Pap smear done, your doctor will contact you afterward to explain what the next steps are for you, depending on whether your tests come back normal or abnormal.
If your tests are normal, your doctor may state you can wait a few years before coming back because there is currently no sign of troubling cell growth. If your results are abnormal, your doctor will contact you about how to move forward with these results and possibly about treatment.
I recently attended a clinic called Meadow Primary Health Care Centre. They ran their first official “Pap Day” last month, and they made it very approachable for people at any age. It was my personal preference to have a woman doctor do the test. I wanted a doctor that did them regularly and I wanted to approach it at a personal level, because quite honestly, it is a very personal test.
Meadow Primary Health Care Centre did all the things I wanted. There were exclusively women doctors in the clinic that day and the setup was amazing. I started with an easy consultation where they talked to me about the steps, my choices, and what will happen throughout the test. Then they took me in and did the test, and it is as short as one minute of the total examination time. After the test, I could also get tested for sexually transmitted infections. They sort of aimed for a one-spot check and got everything done at once which made it even better.
The last Pap Day that took place was in February, and they are hoping to do more soon, but no official dates have been given yet. Maybe give them a shout if this is a place that interests you. Other clinics that offer Pap tests are YQR Women’s Clinic, Planned Parenthood Regina, or even possibly your regular family doctor or a regular clinic near you!
We hope this article creates awareness, made you feel more comfortable about Pap smears, and connected you to resources that you may not have realized you had access to. Personally, going to Meadow Primary Health Centre was a great experience. Call and check in at (306)-766-6399, and they may be able to help you get an appointment or get in touch with other resources that are out there.