Smear tests

What is a smear test?

A smear test, also known as a cervical screening test, is carried out routinely to detect early signs of cervical cancer. The doctor takes a sample of tissue cells from the neck of your womb so they can be checked for abnormalities.

Why do I need one?

Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This is transmitted from person to person so if you have ever had sex you could have contracted the HPV virus.

What does an abnormal result mean?

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The smear test shows if there is an abnormality on the tissue of your cervix, but not whether it is cancerous or precancerous. In many cases the abnormality is harmless or disappears by itself. If you have an abnormal result from a smear test a procedure known as a colposcopy may be recommended. This allows us to take a closer look at the tissues surrounding the neck of your womb and to determine whether or not you will need treatment.

How long do the results take?

You will usually have the result of your test within 14 days.

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