This entry may be a bit ‘too much information’ for some people. (That means you, dad, and my brothers, so if you are reading this you may want skip over today’s entry). I am writing it as a public service announcement.
I had my first pap smear.
For those who don’t know what a pap smear is, a doctor takes a swab of a woman’s cervix to see if there are cells with signs of malignancy. Through this simple test cervical cancer is caught early; and it has saved many a life.
Sexually active women are exposed to viruses that get into the cervical tissue. This is correlated with developing cervical cancer.
All women should get pap smears but sexually active women should have them more frequently.
This is where I come in.
All men who are or have been sexually active ‘as a bottom’ should get a pap smear of the anus. Most sexually active gay men have been exposed to HPV or have human papilloma virus. It gets into the cells of the lining of the anus and rectum; undetected, it can lead to cancer.
Although I haven’t had anal sex without a condom in over 25 years my doctor advised a pap smear screening test. A small brush no wider than a pencil is momentarily inserted into the anus.
My pap smear is negative.
I will have it rechecked in 5 years as part of any other periodic screening tests like a colonoscopy and a prostate exam.
So if you are sexually active or ever have been, talk to your doctor about a pap smear. Most doctors won’t know about it, as it is ‘cutting edge medicine.’
Don’t wait for cancer.
By the way, I wasn’t pregnant either.
UPDATE: 10/2014 – My latest Pap remains negative.