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A smear test or cervical screening test is used to detect abnormal cells in your cervix (the entrance to your womb).

Regular screening monitors changes in the cells. All women between the ages of 24 and 64 are invited for regular screening*.

What happens during a cervical smear?

A cervical smear tests takes about five minutes. A speculum is inserted in your vagina to gently hold it open. A nurse or doctor will use a small brush to take a sample of some cells on your cervix. The sample will be sent to a laboratory for examination under a microscope. 

At Nuffield Health we use liquid based cytology for cervical smear tests. This has several advantages over the traditional smear test as there is a reduction in inadequate rates (insufficient material to analyse accurately) – a considerable benefit in reducing the need for repeat smears. In addition to this, all smears are double-read in our laboratory.

About 1 out of 20 test show mild changes*. Don’t worry - abnormal results rarely mean cancer has developed. Our expert Consultant Gynaecologists understand your concerns around receiving an abnormal result. They will conduct a thorough examination and advise you if any followup procedures are needed.

*Source NHS Choices


Chichester Hospital

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
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