A HPV (human papillomavirus) positive test result alongside abnormal cells will require further testing in the form of a colposcopy – a simple procedure to look at the cervix. It is a very similar process to the smear test, but it will take place in a hospital. Furthermore, the 15-minute procedure involves the application of liquids to the cervix to highlight any abnormal cells.
These abnormal cells in the cervix, at a later stage, could mutate into cancer cells.
The London’s Women’s Centre emphasised that the presence of abnormal cells does not mean you have cancer.
It does, however, enable health professionals to monitor your health and to take any required action to prevent you from developing cancer.
Abnormal smear test results
“An abnormal smear can be categorised as mild, moderate or severe dyskaryosis,” said the London’s Women’s Centre.
A “borderline” grade is between mild to moderate dyskaryosis, which will lead to either an additional smear test or a colposcopy.
During a colposcopy – where the liquid dyes acetic acid and iodine are applied to highlight abnormalities – if the changes are confirmed to be mild in nature, then a “conservative” approach will be recommended.
This means healthcare professionals believe the affected cells will go back to normal without the need for treatment.
Meanwhile, high-grade dyskaryosis will require further investigation by a gynaecologist.
A referral to a gynaecologist will involve a more thorough examination through a colposcopy.
Those with high-grade dyskatyosis usually require treatment to remove the abnormal cervical cells.
“It is important to recognise that cervical cancer can take up to a decade to develop, so a severe dyskaryosis result does not mean you have already developed it,” the London’s Women Centre pointed out.
However, even after abnormal cells have been removed, it is important to attend regular smear tests.
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