Skip to main content

About your abnormal screening test

What if your screening test is abnormal

Most women expect that the result of the cervical screening (smear) test will be normal but you may get a result which is not completely normal and which needs further action. It is important that you have a chance to discuss the result with your GP or practice nurse to explain what happens next. In the meantime please checkout this information.

There are two likely scenarios which might arise.

The test detects a high risk HPV infection but no changes have been found in the cells

This result shows that you have a current infection with HPV. HPV infection is very common and in most cases will clear by itself without causing any harm to you. This kind of infection is known as a transient infection. No abnormal changes have been detected in the cells meaning you are unlikely to have precancerous changes. This infection will resolve within twelve months in around 50% of cases. The test should be repeated in a years time and if it still shows an infection, you will be referred to a colposcopy clinic to check this further. If you smoke now is a good time to stop - by doing so you will improve your cervix chances of fighting this infection.

Click here for more information about HPV tests

The test detects a high risk HPV infection and some changes have been found in the cells

In this scenario there is a need to find out more information about your cervix by directly looking at your cervix using a bright light and a microscope called colposcopy.

The first thing to say is that the vast majority of women in your situation do not have cancer but a condition with changes in the neck of the womb (cervix) that we call CIN. When these changes are found it is normally very easy to get rid of them completely either by active treatment or allowing time for low grade changes to settle over time.

An appointment will be made at a colposcopy clinic and an information leaflet may be enclosed with your appointment. You should arrange a convenient appointment time to attend your clinic.

Click here for more information about colposcopy.