'Putting Your Bottom at the Top of Your List' -- The Pap Smear That's Not Just for Women

Erin N. Marcus, MD, HuffPost

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About 17 years ago, Jeff Taylor, an AIDS advocate, became worried he might have anal cancer. Through his work, Taylor knew that anal cancer rates had risen steeply among people with HIV. He was having discomfort, and he knew that there was a simple screening test: a swab that is processed just like a routine pap smear.

His doctor knew about the test, but at that time there was little agreement on how to diagnose and treat anal cancer, which is rare in the general population. "He said, 'even if I sent it in, the lab wouldn't process it,'" because the pap smear specimen wasn't from a female patient, Taylor recalled.

After several biopsies, Taylor was found to have an early stage anal cancer. "I was extremely lucky," he said. "I've literally watched friends die because they didn't get diagnosed in time."  Read more