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Cervical screening test

‘Where samples of cells are taken from the cervix to test for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. Similar to a Pap smear test, which looks for abnormal cells in the cervix’

Regular cervical screening can save your life.

The cervical screening test is a more accurate way to protect yourself against cervical cancer compared to the Pap test. And If your results are normal, it only has to be completed every five years, as opposed to every two.

Do I need a cervical screening test?
If you’re a woman aged between 25 and 74, you should have regular cervical screening tests. Even if you’ve been vaccinated against HPV, or you identify as lesbian or transgender.

What is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?
A common virus that spreads through skin-to-skin contact, often during sexual contact. There are many different kinds of HPV, and often it goes away by itself without causing any symptoms. Some kinds of HPV, however, can stay in the body and cause cancer of the cervix, anus, vagina, vulva or throat.

What to expect from your cervical screening test

An instrument called a speculum is used to take a sample of cells from your cervix, which are then sent to a lab for analysis. Results will be one of the following:

  • No HPV detected

    You’ll be sent a reminder in five years to come for your next test.

  • HPV infection detected.

    Chances are your body will remove the infection on its own, but we’ll schedule another test in 12 months to make sure. If that test comes in positive, further action may be required.

  • Abnormal cells, a or a specific type of HPV found

    Further tests will be required for clarification, although this doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer, which takes 10 to 15 years to develop.

  • Unsatisfactory test result.

    The lab couldn’t read the sample, and you’ll need to repeat the test in 6 to 12 weeks.

What happens with an abnormal result?

We’d perform a closer examination of the cervix (colposcopy) followed by a biopsy, and if required, surgery to prevent progression to cervical cancer.

Click to read our pamphlet – What is a Colposcopy?.