Cervical Health Guide
You can get more out of your doctor visits with a little preparation. No matter what your age or health status, you should see your doctor at least once a year. Your annual visit may include a pap test, as well as other tests and examinations.
Your annual exam is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. It may include:
- Physical Exam — changes in your height, weight, blood pressure, or breasts could be early signs of something more serious, such as thyroid problems, breast abnormalities, osteoporosis, or heart disease
- Pelvic Exam — by checking the size and position of your reproductive organs, your doctor can detect possible signs of infection, cancer, or reproductive problems
- Pap Test — recognized as the most effective cancer screening tool, the pap test detects abnormal cells on the cervix — often before they become precancerous or cancerous
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test — about 3/4ths of women infected with a sexually transmitted disease show no symptoms;1 if appropriate, your doctor can request that a sample from your ThinPrep Pap Test be used to test for Chlamydia or gonorrhea
- HPV Test — the HPV test may be recommended by your doctor for use with the pap test when your pap test results come back as inconclusive or slightly abnormal (ASC-US) or if you are age 30 or older.
What to know before you go
Before you visit your doctor, jot down some of the information below. Making sure your doctor has all the information they need to help you to get all the information you need:
- When was the date of your last period?
- Do your periods come regularly? How long do they last? How heavy are they?
- Have you ever had an abnormal pap test?
- When was your last mammogram?
- When was your last colonoscopy?
- Do you feel pain during sex?
- Has your weight changed dramatically?
- Are you taking any medications, including non-prescription drugs?
- Is there a history of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes in your family?
- If you are over age 60, have you been screened for osteoporosis?
- Do you smoke? If so, how much?
- Are you experiencing hair loss or skin changes?
- Do you have any issues with bladder control?
Preparing for your appointment
If you’re about to get a pap test, here are some things to remember:
- Avoid douching for 2 days before your visit
- Refrain from having sex for 1 to 2 days before your visit
- Drink plenty of water the day of your visit — you may need to give a urine sample
Talking to your doctor
Make sure your doctor knows you want the best possible pap test — the ThinPrep Pap Test combined with the ThinPrep Imaging System. Odds are, your doctor and laboratory are already using the ThinPrep Imaging System because:
- It is the only pap test with Dual Review — shown to increase disease detection over manually reviewed ThinPrep Pap Test slides
- It is the only pap test with FDA approval stating it to be "significantly more effective" than the conventional pap smear
- It is the only pap FDA-approved/cleared for multiple tests to be taken from one sample
- It is the only pap test shown in multiple peer-reviewed studies to have increased glandular disease detection2-7
Although healthcare plans vary across the country, most insurers will cover both the ThinPrep Pap Test and the ThinPrep Pap Test done with the ThinPrep Imaging System.
1. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Chlamydia/STDFact-Chlamydia.htm. Accessed 4/16/08.
2. Ashfaq R, Gibbons D, Vela C, Saboorian MH, Iliya F. ThinPrep Pap Test. Accuracy for glandular disease. Acta Cytol. 1999;43:81-5.
3. Bai H, Sung CJ, Steinhoff MM: ThinPrep Pap Test promotes detection of glandular lesions of the endocervix. Diagn Cytopathol. 2000;23:19-22.
4. Carpenter AB, Davey DD: ThinPrep Pap Test: Performance and biopsy follow-up in a university hospital. Cancer Cytopathology. 1999;87:105-12.
5. Guidos BJ, Selvaggi SM. Detection of endometrial adenocarcinoma with the ThinPrep Pap test. Diagn Cytopathol. 2000;23:260-5.
6. Schorge JO, Hossein Saboorian M, Hynan L, Ashfaq R. ThinPrep detection of cervical and endometrial adenocarcinoma: A retrospective cohort study. Cancer Cytopathology. 2002;96:338-43.
7. Wang N, Emancipator SN, Rose P, Rodriguez M, Abdul-Karim FW. Histologic follow-up of atypical endocervical cells. Liquid-based, thin-layer preparation vs. conventional Pap smear. Acta Cytol. 2002;46:453-7.