A cervical smear test is a method of detecting abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells in the cervix in order to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer; it is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix.
Cells in the cervix change in appearance before they become cancerous so a cervical smear test can detect warning signs that cancer might develop in the future.
Please review the following HSE information in relation to National Cervical screening:
What is involved?
A cervical smear test is a simple procedure whereby cells are collected from the cervix and sent to a laboratory to be tested for anything unusual. If abnormal changes are found, further tests will be carried out to determine if treatment is needed in a hospital setting and we will arrange your referral. The earlier abnormal cell changes are found, the easier they are to treat.
Initially the sample is screened for certain types of Human Papilloma Virus. This is a virus that is associated with the development of most cervical cancers. If the virus is present, the sample will then be analysed for cytology or abnormal cells. In most cases the cells that are taken are found to be normal. Abnormal cells are found in some women. An abnormal result does not mean cancer in the vast majority of cases. Abnormal cells indicate that cancer may develop sometime in the future. Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer. Treatment can be given to prevent cancer from developing in women with abnormal cells. In a small number of cases also a test may be ambiguous and need to be repeated with these results returning as normal.
Cervical smear testing is recommended every three years for woman aged 25 to 44 and every five years for woman aged 45 to 60. The National Screening programme provides free smear tests to woman ages 25 to 60 in Ireland which we can carry out in our practice.
Register with Cervical Check at 061 406500 or click on the following link to check if you are eligible for your next smear on the screening programme