published Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Ask A Doctor: Are Pap smear and woman's annual exam the same thing?

Dr. David Barker

Q: Is a Pap smear the same thing as a woman's annual exam?

A: Cervical cancer screening, or the Pap smear, is a key component of a woman's health screenings but not the only element. Due to new recommend-ations, cervical cancer screening is not necessarily done annually. However, other issues in women's health do need annual attention. These include a updated medical history, a physical exam that includes a breast and pelvic exam, age-appropriate counseling and screening for infections, domestic violence, breast cancer, colon cancer and heart disease, and yearly updates of chronic medical conditions and medications. Testing for high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) may also be included.

— Dr. David Barker, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, OBGYN Centre of Excellence; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.

Send your health-related questions for a medical doctor to wholloway@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6613.

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