What is an abnormal smear?
The cervical smear is also known as the PAP test. The investigation is an effective way of detecting pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, so that treatment can be started before cancer develops.
Following a cervical smear test, the results can be interpreted to make recommendations if any further action is required.
Usually, abnormalities picked up in smear tests will turn out to be harmless, but early identification and monitoring is essential for early diagnosis of any more severe issues. Cervical cancer is one very rare but very serious possibility.
On average, one in every twelve smear tests will produce an “abnormal” result. The vast majority of these are because of very minor changes in cells from the cervix, known as dyskaryosis. These changes are usually temporary, and even with no treatment, cancer will not develop as a result.
In rare circumstances, dyskaryosis can eventually develop into cancer, which usually takes many years to happen. However, knowing that your smear test result is abnormal and taking steps to manage these cell changes can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
To book a smear test or learn more about an abnormal smear you should contact your GP or ask our experienced team for advice.
What does an abnormal result mean?
Women’s Health Check
Sometimes you just want to make sure that everything is as it should be. We offer a general women’s health check with comprehensive feedback, advice and support.
HPV stands for the human papilloma or wart virus. The name refers to a common group of viruses that can infect the skin, the genitals and the mouth and throat. HPV is important because the viruses are linked to the development of some cancers.
CIN refers to pre-cancerous changes in the cervix that have been seen on colposcopy examination. These changes can also be known as dysplasia or SIL, which stands for Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions. We often describe CIN in more simple terms: ‘Cervix; In the skin; New cells’.
LLETZ is the surgical technique most commonly used to excise abnormal, CIN cells from the surface of the cervix. Cone biopsy is the selective excision of a cone of tissue from the cervix. The area is identified precisely so that any cancerous or pre-cancerous cells are removed within the cone.