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Doctor and Patient

Anal Pap Smear

Anal cancer may not be common, but it's important to take preventative measures if you're at higher risk for the disease.  At Connecticut Colon & Rectal Surgery, LLC, we offer anal pap smears to help catch any potential issues early.  Our anal pap smear service is designed to be a quick and painless way to detect any precancerous changes in the cells that could lead to anal cancer.  With our team of highly experienced professionals, you can rest assured that you're in good hands to receive the best care possible.  Don't wait - schedule your screening with us today!

What is an Anal Pap Smear?

An anal pap smear is a diagnostic procedure used to screen for anal cancer or precancerous changes in the cells lining the anal canal.  Anal pap smears detect changes in the cells called anal dysplasia that could mean the cells are turning cancerous.  Early detection could lead to early treatment and the potential prevention of progression to anal canal cancer.  Cell changes happen slowly in anal cancer, and finding these early indicators ensures you get the prompt treatment you need.

How is an Anal Pap Smear Performed?

During an anal pap smear, a sample of cells from the anal canal are collected by swabbing the anal lining with a swab that looks similar to a Q-tip.  Once collected the specimen is sent off to a laboratory.  While at the laboratory, a pathologist removes the cells off the swab and proceeds to examine the specimen closely under a microscope to look for any abnormalities.

Anal cancer is most often caused by a sexually transmitted disease called human papillomavirus, or more commonly known as HPV.  Most cancers of the anus, cervix, and penis are caused by HPV.  Human papillomavirus is transmitted during sex, therefore sexually active individuals can become infected quite easily, leaving them more vulnerable to anal cancer.  Although wearing a condom can help prevent the spread of HPV, it doesn't eliminate the risk.  

It is advisable to have a regular anal pap smear if you are:

  • Having unprotected sex

  • Regularly having anal sex

  • Engaged with multiple sexual partners

  • Men having sex with men (regardless of HIV status)

  • Women who have had cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, or vulvar cancer

  • HIV-positive

  • Individuals who have or are at increased risk for anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN, potentially a pre-cancerous condition)

  • Immunocompromised individuals, such as those who have received an organ transplant or are on long-term steroids

  • Individuals who have or have had a history of genital or anal warts

  • Individuals who have a history of HPV related cancer or genital or anal warts

Why would I need an Anal Pap Smear?

According to the Cancer Network around 95% of HIV positive bisexual and gay men are already carrying an HPV virus.  In addition, roughly 65% of HIV negative bisexual and gay men are carrying an HPV virus.

How Often Should I Have an Anal Pap Smear?

The current recommendation is for you to have an anal pap smear every year or no less than three years apart.  The test doesn't just detect anal cancer, it identifies HPV, which means you can get prompt treatment as well as reducing the spread of infection to other individuals.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (860) 826-3880 or request an appointment online.  If appropriate and availability allows, a consultation appointment will be scheduled for you to be seen by one of our experienced physicians, generally, within a two-week timeframe of contacting the office.  Procedures are generally scheduled shortly thereafter.

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