Cervical Screening – Smear Test
Cervical screening, or a smear test, is a method of detecting abnormal cells in the cervix in order to prevent cervical cancer. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Cervical screening is recommended every three years for women aged 25 to 49 and every five years for women aged 50 to 64 or more frequently if smear results indicates abnormal changes.
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer; it is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for 1 in 20 women the test will show some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own. However, in some cases, the abnormal cells need to be treated to prevent them becoming cancerous
Our nurses and Dr Genevieve Hamilton are qualified to carry out cervical screening. In order to have a cervical smear you must have received a letter requesting that they have a cervical smear and the appointment must please be made for when the patient is not menstruating.
These appointments typically take around 10 minutes.
HPV primary screening
England, Wales and Scotland are using HPV primary screening. HPV primary screening tests the cervical cells for the HPV virus first. The laboratory will look to see if you have high risk HPV.
High risk HPV can cause cell changes in the cervix, which over time can develop into cancer. Not all cell changes will develop into cancer but it’s important to monitor any changes and give treatment if necessary.
What happens if you have high risk HPV?
If you do have high risk HPV, the laboratory will test your sample for cell changes. If there are cell changes you will be invited for a colposcopy to have a closer look at your cervix. If there are no cell changes you will be invited back for cervical screening in 1 year.
What happens if you don’t have high risk HPV?
If high risk HPV isn’t found, your sample will not be tested for cell changes. Cell changes or cervical cancer are unlikely to develop without high risk HPV. So you will be invited back for cervical screening in 3 or 5 years time, depending on your age.
Book your smear today online!