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Kelly Boardman, MSc, PA-C
Importance Of Women's Health Testing
Ashburn Sterling Internal Medicine & Pediatrics

Importance Of Women's Health Testing

Did you know that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) testing is as important as the Pap smear? This is one of the many things we may address at an adult woman's yearly physical exam. During a gynecological exam, a woman's cervix is visualized using a speculum and then a Pap smear and HPV test may be performed.

Cells are removed from the cervix so that they can be microscopically examined. This is a preventive measure in order to detect abnormal cellular changes, precancerous cells, or cancerous cells so that they can be treated early and more effectively.

Cervical cancer occurs when the cells in the cervix grow abnormally or out of control. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by certain strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection. Therefore HPV testing is often done at the same time as a Pap smear in order to identify a precursor to cervical cancer.

Annual gynecological exams usually begin at the age of 21. During a woman's yearly exam Pap and HPV testing may be performed. Additionally, pelvic and breast exams are often performed to assess overall gynecological health.

Screening for diseases, determining potential health risks, and encouraging healthier living are also prioritized at the yearly physical. Various preventative measures, such as offering the Gardasil vaccine, which protects against four strains of HPV, may be taken depending on a patient's age, risk factors, family history, and personal history.

Effective cancer prevention and gynecological health depends on frequent screenings and appropriate management of abnormal tests. So, make sure you maintain your yearly physical exams, and discuss any other health issues with your doctor.

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