Maintaining your annual well woman checkups is important to your overall health and wellbeing. This appointment gives your physician a chance to focus on preventative care, rather than monitoring a pregnancy or treating an ailment or problem. Dr. Jenkins of Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine urges patients to schedule and keep these appointments.
One piece of the well woman checkup is a pap smear, where a small amount of cells are scraped from the opening of the cervix. The cells are tested to determine if you have an infection, abnormal cells, or cervical cancer. The Pap test can find the earliest signs of cervical cancer which can keep the disease from growing and ultimately save your life. In the early stages of cervical cancer, patients generally feel no pain or have any symptoms.
If abnormal cells, also known as cervical dysplasia, are found, Dr. Jenkins will schedule a follow up appointment with you to discuss your options. Some of the possible next steps include repeating the Pap test. Sometimes very mild cases of dysplasia will clear up without medical intervention. If Dr. Jenkins believes that this could be the case for you, he will schedule a series of Pap tests to be sure.
Alternatively, Dr. Jenkins could schedule you for a gynecological procedure to detect the extent of the dysplasia. A colposcopy is common for patients with dysplasia. During a colposcopy, a magnified exam of the cervix will be conducted and a small biopsy will be taken. Additionally, a cone biopsy could be used to rule out invasive cancer.
If the colposcopy shows that the dysplasia detected is not likely to go away on its own, Dr. Jenkins will either destroy or remove the cancerous cells. Dr. Jenkins can destroy the cells through carbon dioxide photoablation, using a laser to vaporize the abnormal cells, or through cyrocautery, which uses nitrous oxide to freeze the abnormal area. To remove the abnormal cells, Dr. Jenkins uses the loop electrosurgical procedure (LEEP.) The LEEP procedure removes abnormal tissue using a thin, low voltage electrified wire loop.
Regardless of which detection or treatment procedure you and Dr. Jenkins decide to use, know that you will be kept comfortable during the entire process. Hearing the words "cervical cancer" can be scary and overwhelming. Dr. Jenkins will make sure that you understand your test results and his recommended next steps. If you're in the Fulshear, TX, area and are looking for a physician who will treat you with expert and gentle care, call today to schedule an appointment.
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