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Student Health Services provides routine care to meet the health care needs of women. Services include routine pelvic and breast exams, Pap smears, diagnosis and treatment of vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections, counseling and prescriptions for contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and counseling, and specialist referrals.
All services are provided in a confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere. The Pap test or Pap smear looks for cancers and precancers in the cervix the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Precancers are cell changes that might become cancer if they are not treated the right way. Most health insurance plans cover Pap tests or cervical screening tests. A pap test checks the cervix for abnormal cell changes.
Cell changes can develop on the cervix and, if not found and treated, can lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can almost always be prevented, and having regular Pap tests is the key. A Pap test is done during your well woman exam. Your doctor can do a Pap test during a pelvic exam. It is a simple and quick test.
You will lie down on an exam table. Your doctor will put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina and will open it to see your cervix. With the speculum in place the doctor uses a small brush to take a sample of cells from the cervix. A Pap test may be mildly uncomfortable, but should not be painful.
A Pap test is not indicated at every well woman exam.
Most women ages 21 to 65 should get Pap tests as part of routine health care. Women who do not have a cervix usually because of a hysterectomyand who also do not have a history of cervical cancer or abnormal Papdo not need Pap tests. Women ages 65 and older who have had three normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal test in the last 10 years do not need Pap tests. An abnormal result does not mean you have HPV or cervical cancer. Other reasons for an abnormal Pap test include:.
If of the Pap test are unclear or show a small change in the cells of the cervix, your doctor may repeat the Pap test immediately, in six months or a year, or run more tests. In some cases referral to a specialist for further examination of the cervix by colposcopy is necessary. Colposcopy is a careful examination of the entire cervix under microscopic magnification. If you have abnormaltalk with your doctor about what they mean, and what recommendations and follow up are planned. If you have more questions, please talk to our nurse or your clinician.
You can schedule an appointment at or speak to the advice nurse by calling Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus. Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus HPV. Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecological cancer to prevent with regular Pap screening tests and HPV vaccination. It is also very curable when found and treated early. Each year about 12, women in the United States get cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer happens most often in women 30 years or older, but all women are at risk. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a high-risk type of HPV. HPV is a virus that is passed from person to person through genital contact, such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If the HPV infection does not go away on its own, it may cause cervical cancer over time.
Other things may increase the risk of developing cancer following a high-risk HPV infection. These include:. You may not notice any s or symptoms of cervical cancer. s of advanced cervical cancer may include bleeding or discharge from the vagina. These symptoms may not be caused by cervical cancer, but the only way to be sure is to see your doctor. Women should start getting screened at age You can get a Pap test to look for changes in cervical cells that could become cancerous if not treated. If the Pap test finds major changes in the cells of the cervix your doctor may suggest more tests to look for cancer.
Do you still have questions about cervical cancer or need to schedule a Pap test? Call student health services and speak with our advice nurse at or schedule an appointment at Human papillomavirus or HPV, is the name for a group of viruses that includes more than types. More than 40 types of HPV can be passed through sexual contact. Over half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but most people never know it.
This is because HPV most often has no symptoms and goes away on its own. About 20 million Americans ages 15 to 49 currently have HPV. At least half of all sexually active men and women get genital HPV at some time in their lives. Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer. These types of HPV are called high-risk. Most often, high-risk HPV causes no health problems and goes away on its own. If you have high-risk HPV, your doctor can look for changes on your cervix during Pap tests.
Changes can be treated to try to prevent cervical cancer. Be sure to have regular Pap tests so changes can be found early. Low-risk HPV can cause genital warts. Warts can form weeks, months or years after sexual contact with an infected person.
In women genital warts can grow:. The size of genital warts varies. They can be flat and flesh-colored or look bumpy like cauliflower. They often form in clusters or groups. They may itch, burn or cause discomfort. In fact, most people with low-risk HPV never know they are infected. Genital HPV is passed by skin-to-skin and genital contact.
It is most often passed during vaginal and anal sex. Although much less common, it is possible to pass HPV during oral sex and hand to genital contact.
It depends on your age. Two vaccines Cervarix and Gardasil are available, both can protect girls and young women against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. The Student Health Center has Gardasil vaccine available. Gardasil is recommended for year old girls, but can be given to girls as young as 9 and in women through age 26 who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger.
These vaccines are given in a series of shots, depending on the age you receive it. The vaccine does not replace the need to use condoms to lower your risk of getting other strains of HPV or other sexually transmitted infections.
Women who have had the HPV vaccine still need to have regular Pap tests. Most women who have had HPV infections never know it.
This is one reason why you need regular Pap tests. A Pap test can find changes on the cervix caused by HPV. If you are age 30 or older, your doctor will also do an HPV test with your Pap test.
It helps with cervical cancer screening. The test will show if HPV caused the abnormal cells on your cervix. One other way to tell if you have an HPV infection is if you have genital warts. See What is the difference between the high-risk and low-risk types of HPV for more details.
You can have HPV but still have a normal Pap test. Changes on your cervix may not show up right away; or they may never appear. This means you have a very low chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years.
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Genital warts can also be treated. Sometimes the virus goes away on its own. HPV is as common in men as in women. HPV rarely causes severe health problems in men.