Cervical Cancer Screening in Chula Vista, CA

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower narrow end of the uterus in a female. It is the place where a baby grows during pregnancy and connects the vagina with the uterus.

The expertly trained OBGYNs at South Bay OBGYN have extensive experience performing cervical cancer screenings to catch signs of cancer early. Routine screenings are an essential part of preventative care. Call (619) 267-8313 to request an appointment at our OBGYN clinic in Chula Vista, CA.

What is Cervical Cancer Screening?

Cervical cancer screening is looking for cancer before you have any symptoms. Cancer found early may be easier to treat. These screenings are typically done at a well-woman visit annually. If you have recently had a screening, you may not need one for another three to five years.

If it is time for a screening, your OBGYN may recommend one of the following:

  • Pap test or Pap smear – a gentle scrape of the outside and inside of the cervix to collect samples of cells for testing for cancer or infection
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) test – checks cells for infection with high-risk HPV types that can cause cervical cancer
  • The HPV/Pap Co-Test – uses an HPV test and Pap test together to check for both high-risk HPV and cervical cell changes
  • You can discuss with your OBGYN which test would be best for you. You will be made to feel comfortable during the screening and it only lasts a minute or less. It is a proven way to reduce the risk of cancer.

Why is Screening Recommended?

Cervical cancer found at an early stage is usually easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cervical cancer may have begun to spread, making treatment more difficult.

The cervix is made of two parts with two different types of cells:

  • Endocervix – opening of the cervix that leads into the uterus and has glandular cells
  • Exocervix (or ectocervix) – ¬†outer part of the cervix that can be seen by your OBGYN during a speculum exam and has squamous cells

The place where these two cell types meet in the cervix is called the transformation zone. The exact location of the transformation zone changes as you get older and if you give birth. Most cervical cancers begin in the cells in the transformation zone, so it is important to go see your OBGYN for a screening.

Cells in the transformation zone do not suddenly change into cancer but gradually develop abnormal changes that are called pre-cancerous. That is why screening for cervical cancer is recommended for anyone over age 20.

Goals of Cervical Cancer Screening

The goal of screening for cervical cancer is to

  • Find precancerous cervical cell changes
  • Find early warning signs when treatment can prevent cervical cancer from developing
  • To find cancer at an early stage

At the same time as your screening, your OBGYN may perform a pelvic exam as well. This includes checking the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries and feel for any lumps or cysts. The rectum may also be checked for lumps or abnormal areas.

Schedule a Cervical Cancer Screening

You may also talk with your OBGYN about being tested for sexually transmitted infections. Your OBGYN will tell you what to expect at each step of the exam, so you will be at ease. Call to request an appointment in Chula Vista today.

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