Dr. Okoroji is a women's health doctor, gynecologist, and obstetrician who serves the Tallahassee community through his Nature Coast Healthcare Center practice. He offers a caring approach to all stages of women's health and in the care of children and families, too.
Women should get an annual pelvic examination and a pap smear every two years for women who are over 21 years of age, according to the American Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. When you hit age 30, and if your pap smears have been normal for the last three years, you may defer your pap smear to every three years. Expect to also include an HPV virus test along with your pap smear when you hit age 30.
The purpose of a pap smear is to screen for cervical cancer. At age 30, Dr. Okoroji will include an HPV test also. The Human Papillomavirus has a direct link to cervical cancer and the family of viruses that are HPV is very common. According to the CDC, most sexually active men and women will contract HPV. Keep in mind that this is a fairly large family of viruses and that many of the viruses in this family do not cause cervical cancer. However, some are linked to cervical cancer and that is why a pap smear with HPV screening is needed.
A pap smear is designed to take a sample of cells from the cervix and surrounding tissue. Those cells are then tested in a laboratory for signs of cancer and if the HPV test is included, for the presence of HPV. The test is not lengthy and takes about ten minutes. A small tampon shaped device is inserted into the vagina and a brush is used to collect cell samples. There is a scope attached to the device that allows Dr. Okoroji to physically view the tissue and cervix to make sure there are no abnormalities. Test results are available in as little as two days, though sometimes they take upwards of two weeks.