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Smear Tests (Cervical Screening)

Cervical screening or pap smear tests are vital for female patients and should be carried out on a regular basis. Typically, patients should undergo a smear test every three years between the ages of 25-50 and every five years following the age of 50.

A smear test identifies any abnormal cells which may be present within the cervix and enables your doctor to carry out further testing, if it’s required. In some cases, the presence of abnormal cells can indicate that cancer is present but abnormal cells can also highlight an increased risk of cancer, which means action can be taken before cancer develops.

As cervical cancer may not cause symptoms to appear until it is fairly advanced, cervical screening is vital to an early diagnosis and ensures patients are able to access treatment if it is necessary. Often, early diagnosis means pre-cancerous or cancerous cells can be removed quickly and the need for additional treatment is reduced.

FAQ's

How long does a smear test take?
A cervical screening usually lasts no longer than 5 minutes. Upon arrival at the practice, the doctor will ask you a few questions regarding previous tests and your medical history in order to have a better understanding of your health and well-being. You should receive your result in 3 days. If any abnormalities have been detected, a follow up consultation with Dr Kiran Bindra will be arranged where the next steps will be discussed.
What do the results mean?
For the majority of women, the results of a smear test will show that everything is normal and healthy. In some cases however, there may be some abnormal changes in the cervix which need to be monitored.  You may be referred to a specialist for further treatment. In the case of cell abnormalities, it is not uncommon for the cells to return back to normal without further intervention. However in more serious cases the cells may need to be treated in order to prevent them from becoming cancerous.
Can older patients start having smear tests?
If you’re over the age of 25 but you’ve never had a smear test, our doctors will be happy to carry out cervical screening for you. If you’ve felt too nervous to attend before or were simply unaware that the test was available, we’ll put you at ease and ensure you know what to expect.
What happens after a smear test?
Once a sample of cells has been taken, they are analysed and the results are returned to your doctor. Your doctor will then contact you to confirm whether or not any further monitoring or treatment is required. If not, you will simply have another smear test carried out in either three or five years to confirm that no other changes have occurred.
Does a smear test hurt?
Many women worry that a smear test will be painful or uncomfortable but your doctor will take this into account and ensure any discomfort is kept to a minimum. In most cases, patients don’t experience any pain or discomfort when a smear test is carried out. Although patients may find cervical screening to be embarrassing, our doctors routinely carry out these tests and there is no reason for you to feel embarrassed. If you are experiencing any discomfort be sure to tell your doctor as they may be able to reposition you, use a smaller instrument and offer some other advice to help you relax.
Why is a smear test important?
A smear test (either every 3 or 5 years) is essential for monitoring the health of the cervix. The test identifies any abnormalities, within the cervix and can play a key role in the prevention of cancer. Attending the screening is important as early detection of cancer may ultimately mean less treatment and less recovery time should abnormal cells need to be removed.Attending the a cervical screening also gives you peace of mind about your cervical health, alleviating any lingering worries or concerns.
  • Dr. Kiran Bindra
    MB BS (LOND), BSc (Hons), nMRCGP (UK), DRCOG (UK) GMC License no. 6164162
    Family Medicine Consultant

    An accomplished family doctor and an alumna of University College London and Glasgow University, Dr Kiran Bindra is the first port of call for all medical concerns. Beyond general medicine, she has specific knowledge in the fields of dermatology and psychiatry....

    Alumini

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