Spire Consultant answers FAQs on Cervical Screenings

17 January 2018

Spire Roding Hospital's Private Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Dr Farida Bano, answers some frequently asked questions about Cervical screening.

Why do I need a cervical smear?

Cervical smear is designed to pick up minor changes before any problems develop. Regular cervical screening (cervical smear) is important to detect abnormalities which can be treated early to prevent cancer developing. Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer presents a significant global health burden, with an estimated 266,000 deaths and 528,00 new cases worldwide recorded in 2012. Approximately 85% of cervical cancer cases occur in developing countries.

There were around 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer in the UK in 2014, that’s around nine cases diagnosed every day. Cervical cancer is the 20th most common cancer in the UK (2014).

In females in the UK, cervical cancer is the 13th most common cancer, with around 3,200 cases diagnosed in 2014.

More than half (52%) of cervical cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in females aged under 45 (2012-2014).

Cervical cancer is rare in women who get regular screening tests. It’s very important that if you have been referred to colposcopy you should keep your appointment.

I have had an abnormal result from my cervical smear?

Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around one in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Most of these changes won't lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own. However, in some cases, the abnormal cells need to be removed so they can't become cancerous.

I have abnormal vaginal bleeding and a smelly vaginal discharge?

The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, usually between periods, after sex or after the menopause (who are no longer having the period). Symptoms of cervical cancer can also include a smelly vaginal discharge and discomfort during sex. Very early stage of cervical cancer may have no symptoms. This means it’s important to have regular cervical screening so that any cells can be picked up early. Usually these symptoms won’t mean you have cancer, and there are many conditions that can cause these symptoms but it’s important to let the doctor know.


If you are due a smear test or have any worries or concerns, talk to your GP or call our Private Patient Team. They will guide you through the process and help book you in to see one of our private specialists on 0208 709 7817 or enquire here.

Dr Bano holds weekly clinics at Spire Roding Hospital.

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