Abnormal cervical cells and treatment
The cervix is covered with a layer of skin-like cells on its outer surface, called the ectocervix. The results of your cervical screening are based on the analysis of the cells from the surface of the ectocervix. The screening can only detect whether there are abnormal cells present. Depending on the results of your screening, you may be referred to a specialist clinic in the hospital (colposcopy) in order to get a more accurate diagnosis and have treatment if needed. You will need to have a small sample taken from your cervix to analyse the cells from the layer beneath the surface, this is called a biopsy. Usually biopsies are only a few millimetres in size.
Cells of the cervix and uterus
Image from Szarewski A (2007) Preventing Cervical Cancer: What ever women should know. Altman UK, 4.
Jo's Trust Case Study
Paula describes her experience with cervical screening and abnormal cervical cells:
My tests had always come back clear until my routine screening in August 2007. I was 32 years old at the time and had attended my regular appointment, not thinking anything of it. However, a few days later I received a letter confirming that they had found abnormal cells on my cervix and that I was being referred for a colposcopy, a cervical examination.
Read more about Paula's story...
Date last updated: 28/06/2011
Date due for review: 28/06/2013