Cervical Cancer Screenings
Signs of Cervical Cancer in Loveland, CO Patients
Have You Scheduled Your Cervical Cancer Screening?
These days, we’re all a little more worried about our health. We’re on the lookout for cases of flu and colds, but it’s just as important to stay vigilant for signs of cancer. At The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado, we’re proud to promote cervical cancer screenings for Loveland and Fort Collins residents. Our team is well-versed in vital testing measures, including Pap smears and HPV testing. Whether you’ve noticed symptoms of cervical cancer or you simply want to play it safe, don’t hesitate to reach out to our women’s health professionals about a screening.
What to Know About Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a prevalent cancer diagnosed in about 14,000 women in the United States every year. While the exact cause of this condition has not yet been pinpointed, many cases are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV has been linked to mutating cells in the cervix, which eventually accumulate and become a tumor. It’s difficult to identify any cervical cancer symptoms in the beginning stages, but as the condition progresses, patients start to notice the following:
- Watery or bloody vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
What Happens During a Cervical Cancer Screening?
Many patients worry that a cervical cancer screening will be uncomfortable or even painful. But rest assured that our team will be by your side every step of the way. Patients rarely feel pain and most often only report slight discomfort or pressure around the abdomen. If you have any questions before or during the procedure, please let us know. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible when we check for signs of cervical cancer. A typical screening involves the following steps:
- Patients take a seat on the medical table and place their feet into stirrups
- A member of our team will use a speculum to collect cells from the cervix
- Your provider will perform an internal exam to look for any abnormalities
- After just a few minutes, the screening will end, and you’ll be free to go about your regularly-scheduled activities
When to Schedule Your Screening
Depending on your age, you’ll have different protocols for scheduling a cervical cancer screening. Here’s our general guide for deciding when to pencil in an appointment with The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado:
- Ages 21-29: Most doctors recommend getting your first Pap smear at age 21. If results come back normal, you can usually wait three years until your next screening.
- Ages 30-65: Discuss your testing options with your doctor. They may suggest a Pap smear, HPV test, or both. Most patients can wait three to five years between screenings.
- Ages 65 and over: If you’ve had no causes for concern in the last several years, you may no longer need screenings. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
- All Ages: If you notice any symptoms of cervical cancer, get in touch with your medical provider right away. Cervical cancer treatment is easier when the condition is caught early.
Getting Ready for Your Appointment
Whether or not you’re worried about an abnormal Pap smear, this screening procedure can provoke lots of anxiety in patients. The team at The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado completely understands where your nerves come from, and we want to help you feel more comfortable. As you prepare for your screening, we recommend these tips for self-care:
- Be Candid: If you’re nervous about your cervical cancer screening, please share your concerns with us. We know the procedure inside and out, and hopefully, we can put some of your fears to rest. During the screening, never hesitate to let us know if you feel any pain. We’re glad to help you switch positions to feel more comfortable.
- Distract Yourself: Sometimes, distracting yourself is an excellent tool for overcoming discomfort. In the past, we’ve had patients listen to music, watch videos, or chat with a trusted friend or family member during the procedure.
- Plan Something Fun: We encourage patients to plan self-care activities after a cervical cancer screening. You’ve done something difficult, so you deserve to reward yourself! Plan for a relaxing day with a book, drop by your favorite spa on your way home, or grab some ice cream.
Contact The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado Today
You might feel anxious going into a cervical cancer screening, but the peace of mind will be well worth a few minutes of discomfort. Our team is always here to listen to your concerns and make you feel at ease in our clinics. We’re glad to serve patients throughout Loveland and Fort Collins, CO with exceptional women’s health care. Contact The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado today to schedule a cervical cancer screening.