Why do I have to get a Pap smear?

ASK AN EXPERT

[.highlighted] Q: Dear Teal, [.highlighted] I find Pap smears to be pretty miserable: the speculum, the stirrups, it’s all so uncomfortable! Why do I have to get a pap smear?

A: Let’s start with some good news: the Teal team is hard at work developing (and testing!) a future where the screening experience (ie. Pap smear and HPV test) is way more comfortable, accessible, and convenient than they are now. Teal Health’s at-home option for cervical cancer screening will allow you to self-collect a sample in under five minutes, from the comfort of your own home. (Make sure you’re on our waitlist so you’re first to know when it’s available in your state.) 

We’ve built an entire product and team around improving the uncomfortable (and unaccessible, antiquated, we could go on…) cervical cancer screening experience. Trust us, we get it. That understanding also means we’re deeply passionate about making sure all women and people with a cervix know how important it is to stay up-to-date on cervical cancer screening (one of which is a Pap smear). 

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death in American women. The incidence of cervical cancer has since declined significantly due to preventive screening and the HPV vaccine. According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancers rarely occur in women who have been getting tested regularly for cervical cancer. So, don’t wait. For now, the test may be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it saves lives. Make sure you and all the women you love understand when and why they should get screened.

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Liz Swenson, MD
Medical Director

Liz Swenson is a board-certified OB/GYN who has been providing care to women for more than 20 years. She has learned that women are genuinely interested in their own health and want to understand the science behind their medical conditions. Originally from Iowa, she completed her medical training in Northern California where she still lives with her husband and two daughters. She has worked in a busy multispecialty practice in Palo Alto and has taught OBGYN residents as an Adjunct Clinical Faculty Member of Stanford University. Now, with a focus on helping all women have choices and access to the gynecological care they need, she is excited to use her clinical experience to help improve the lives and longevity of all Teal patients.