At the London Medical and Aesthetic clinic we offer women cervical screening .
Cervical cancer is not uncommon. In recent years the number of cases has fallen due to cervical screening tests. However, there are still over 2,000 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed each year in the UK.
Most of these occur in women who have never had a screening test, or who have not had one for many years.
Cervical cancer can be prevented if you have regular screening tests. It is estimated that up to 3,900 women are prevented from developing cervical cancer every year in the UK, due to cervical screening.
Cervical cancer is a disease that can often be prevented. Early changes can be detected in the cervix, which indicate that cancer may develop. A cervical screening test samples some cells from your cervix. These are examined under the microscope in a laboratory
Cervical screening is sometimes called a smear test. It’s a test used to examine the cells in your cervix for any changes. Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer, but it can pick up changes to cells in your cervix that could, if left untreated, become cancer in the future
A cervical screening test is a routine test to check the health of a woman’s cervix (the neck of the womb). Sometimes, the cells that line the cervix start to change and become abnormal. In a very small number of cases, abnormal cervical cells can be an early sign of cervical cancer.
Regular cervical screening helps to ensure that any cell changes are picked up early, and treatment – if required – is started as soon as possible.
Around 9 out of 10 cervical screening tests do not reveal any cell abnormalities in the cervix. About 1 in 20 tests reveal mild cervical cell changes, most of which do not need treatment because they return to normal by themselves.
Approximately 1 in 100 cervical screening tests indicate moderate cell changes. One in 200 indicates severe cell changes. Both moderate and severe cell changes need further investigation and possibly treatment. Less than 1 in 1,000 tests reveal invasive cancer that requires immediate referral to a specialist.
Although abnormal cervical screening results rarely indicate cancer, it is important to fully investigate all moderate and severe abnormal cell changes so that conditions, such as cervical cancer, can be ruled out or diagnosed as soon as possible.
If your test result comes back as inadequate, you should make an appointment to be tested again as soon as it’s convenient for you. If you have a test result that is borderline, you should have a repeat test in six to 12 months.
About five in every 100 cervical screening tests are inadequate or unreadable, which means there has been a problem with the test itself. The test may not have been taken properly, or you may have an infection.
If your test was inadequate, you should make an appointment to have another test as soon as it’s convenient, or as soon as any infection has been treated. Your GP or practice nurse will advise you.
A test result that comes back as borderline means that the changes to your cells were mild and so near to normal that they may return to normal on their own.
You should make an appointment to have the test repeated in six to 12 months. If the cells have returned to normal, you will go back to having cervical screening every three or five years.
If the next test still shows abnormal cells, you may be asked to have a colposcopy to investigate these further.
You may be referred for a Colposcopy if three consecutive samples from a cervical screening test have given inadequate information about changes in your cervical cells.
A colposcopy allows a colposcopist to look more closely at your cervix and the cells that line it. This will give them a much clearer idea of how advanced the cell changes are.
It is important to be aware that a colposcopy is not a treatment for cervical cell changes; it is simply a way of enabling cell changes to be examined in more detail.
It is your choice whether or not to have a smear test for cervical screening. To make an informed decision and give your consent, it’s important that read more about cervical screening. Please read the FAQ below to help with this decision.