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Abnormal smears and colposcopy

Abnormal cervical smears are common. They represent varying degrees of precancer of the cervix. As such, they all have the potential to turn into cancer of the cervix if left untreated. This transition can occur over a period of less than 10 to 15 years.

Mr Tailor

In England, all women over the age of 25 years of age are invited to have regular cervical smears. This is usually every 3 years below the age of 50. If an abnormality is found then, depending on the degree of abnormality, either it is repeated 6 months later or a referral for colposcopy examination is arranged.

At colposcopy consultation, the cervix is examined under magnification. The cervix is washed with some solutions which reveal the abnormal patches on it. With experience it is possible to correlate the degree of changes noted after washing the cervix with the degree of precancer actually present. In this manner it is possible to avoid unnecessary treatment of the cervix if the impression is that of a low grade abnormality.

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