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 test are based on the examination of the cells from the surface of the ectocervix. The test detects whether there are abnormal cells present. 

Cells that are found in the cervical canal are called endocervical cells (glandular cells) these are different to the ectocervix. The transformation zone is the area from where the endocervix meets the ectocervix. This is where glandular cells normally change to squamous cells of the ectocervix. Rarely some women have endocervix cells that are abnormal and these abnormal areas are called glandular changes. 
Cells of the cervix and uterus

Cervical cells, ectocervix, endocervix 

Harriett's story

Harriett describes her experience with cervical screening and abnormal cervical cells:

"My results came back in around five days which was quite alarming and the letter read that I would need to make an urgent hospital referral due to an abnormal result. I went for a colposcopy examination shortly after and was diagnosed with CIN3 (pre-cancerous cells of the cervix at a high grade level, also known as severe dyskariosis)."

Read more of Harriett's story

Date last updated: 
21 Nov 2013
Date due for review: 
20 Nov 2015