Cervical Cancer Screening
Cervical cancer is a growth of cells that starts in the cervix. This cancer can affect the deeper tissues of the cervix and spread to other parts of the body and can lead to death.
Cervical cancer screening, sometimes also known as a smear test or a pap smear, is an effective method for detecting abnormal cells in the cervix.
Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer. The results of the test help to provide practitioners with an accurate measure of the health of your cervix – the entrance to your womb (uterus). Regular check-ups are recommended for all women aged 25 years and older.
Why is cervical cancer screening important?
The test looks for changes in the cells of your cervix.
This isn’t a test for cancer, but can detect abnormal cells that could lead to serious problems like cervical cancer. Symptoms may not be experienced until the condition is at an advanced stage.
Abnormal cells are not usually cancerous, especially if you have regular screenings. However, if abnormal cells are noticed at a screening they can be closely observed and/or treated to prevent cancer from developing. Regular screening has been proven to reduce the risk of advanced cancer by 90% on average for women aged 35-64.
What to expect at your appointment
The procedure is generally very quick and painless, and may just be momentarily uncomfortable.
The provider will ask you to lie down, and an instrument called a speculum will be gently inserted into your vagina in order to view your cervix. A small brush is used to take a sample. This picks up cells from inside the opening of the cervix. The test only takes a couple of minutes.
If you have any health concerns, further to your cervical screening, which you would like to talk about, you may also want to use your appointment to ask these questions.
Ready to book?
If you’re ready to visit us, book an appointment to reduce your waiting time at the clinic.
Receiving your results
We will contact you (by your preferred method), usually within 2 weeks of the procedure. The results you receive will be described as either:
- Unclear/insufficient/inadequate – meaning that the cells could not be viewed and we will need to take another sample in 3 months.
- Abnormal/irregular – meaning that changes have been observed, either mild, moderate or severe
If your results are irregular or abnormal
Please don’t be frightened. Any change in the cells of the cervix usually happens very slowly and may be cleared by the body’s immune system. Slight abnormalities are very common in women under 25. Abnormal cells are not cancerous but could be an early warning sign which we need to keep an eye on.
We’ll send a full explanation of what the test results show and advise you on what to do next.
How to prevent cervical cancer?
Vaccination against HPV is shown to be effective in preventing cervical cancer, alongside regular screening for early detection and treatment. The HPV vaccine protects against genital warts, cervical cancer and several other cancers.
Check our vaccination page or speak to our experts on 22252 or 0800 00 22252 to know more about our vaccination options.