An obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Regina Edmond conducts Pap smears and other diagnostic services through her private practice in Los Angeles. The Pap smear, a test that can indicate the presence of cervical cancer, works by detecting precancerous and cancerous cells. During the test, experienced experts like Dr. Regina Edmond use a speculum to facilitate access to the cervix and vagina. The physician or nurse then carefully collects a cell sample from the cervical region.
A laboratory technician examines the sample for any abnormalities. For instance, the lab might find atypical cells that can develop into uterine or cervical cancers. In the event the screening detects abnormalities, patients may be advised to undergo confirmatory procedures such as a colposcopy-directed biopsy and a test for the human papillomavirus, a leading cause of cervical cancer.
Patients should keep in mind that the Pap smear is only the first step in detecting pre-cancerous conditions. Follow up tests may have to be performed. This is one reason why women should pursue regular cervical cancer screenings.