Testing to detect early signs of cervical cancer
Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer screening is an effective method for detecting abnormal cells in the cervix.
The results of the test (sometimes known as a pap smear test) are used to provide healthcare 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 and are offered at all our centres.
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 beforehand, 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 proved to reduce the risk of advanced cancer by 90% on average for women aged 35-64.
The procedure is generally very quick and painless, and may just be momentarily uncomfortable.
The practitioner will ask you to lie on a couch. They will gently insert an instrument called a speculum 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.