A smear test is a simple & quick procedure, which gives a highly accurate result. During your appointment, a speculum is gently inserted into the vagina, & a small, soft brush is used to collect cells from the cervix. The cells are sent to the laboratory for testing. If your test comes back showing anything out of the ordinary, you will be able to follow-up with the doctor, who will give you advice about the best next steps. If a referral is called for, we will be able to arrange this for you at no extra charge.
We also include testing for the human papilloma virus (HPV) as part of our smear test package. If your HPV test results are positive, the sub-type of HPV will be provided as well, which can help to determine if the strain is low or high risk.
In its early stages, cervical cancer often does not have any symptoms at all, which is why regular screening is important, even when you feel well. The most common cervical cancer symptom is vaginal bleeding, although this may not develop until the disease is in an advanced stage, or at all. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may develop.
Although there may very well be a cause other than cervical cancer for vaginal bleeding, this symptom is cause for you to see a doctor as soon as possible. It is important to rule out cancer, to find out whether you need further testing, & where necessary, to get a referral to see a specialist. Please come in to see us if you experience any of the following:
Bleeding during or after sex (postcoital bleeding)
Bleeding or spotting between periods
In its later stages, cervical cancer may present with other symptoms, including:
Discomfort or pain during sex (dyspareunia), or after sex
Unusual vaginal discharge (changes in colour, odour, amount, or consistency)
Lower back pain
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Increased need to urinate
Pain on urination (dysuria)
The most important thing in the prevention of cervical cancer is awareness. It can be easy to put off having your smear test, but if it has been some time since your last one, please do book yourself in for an appointment. We have a great team of female doctors who will make sure that the process is fast, simple, & as comfortable as possible. A GP consultation is included in the price of our smear tests, as well as HPV sub-typing, which can be helpful if you do have HPV, as it will indicate the level of risk associated with your specific strain, as well as checking for the presence of precancerous cells.