A test that is performed to check for abnormal changes in the cervix to prevent cervical cancer.
This test is performed to detect abnormal cell changes, called dysplasia, that if not discovered and treated could become cancerous. Thay can also be used to detect some viral infections of the cervix such as herpes and genital wart viruses. Cervical cancer smears should be given about 5 or 6 months within having sexual intercourse and a second one should be given about a year later in the small chance of missing an abnormality on the first test. More often tests may be needed if the patient changes sex partners often. These tests can be performed by GPs.
Once the test has been performed, and the results of the test have been looked at, the patient will be contacted to tell them the results. Normal looking cells means that the patient requires no further treatment. However, if the cells appear abnormal shape, the smear is graded depending on CIN scale, going from 1 to 3, which grades the degree of abnormal cell change. All smears that are rated on the CIN scale will be followed by repeated smears, biopsies,which is the taking of samples for analysis, and sometimes examination of the affected areas of the cervix.
Areas affected are then treated by electrocoagulation or laser surgery, or by cyrosurgery which involves using cold to destroy the abnormal tissue.