Abnormal cervical cells and treatment

The cervix is covered with a layer of skin-like cells on its outer surface; this is called the ectocervix or ectocervical cells. The result of your cervical screening test (smear test) is based on the examination of a sample of cells from the surface of the ectocervix. The test detects whether there are any changes to the cells that might make them abnormal.

Cells that are found in the cervical canal are called endocervical cells (glandular cells) these are different to the ectocervical cells. The transformation zone is the area where the endocervix meets the ectocervix. This is where the glandular cells of the endocervix normally change to the squamous cells of the ectocervix. In rare cases 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

This section contains the following:

Lisa's story

Lisa Lisa describes how she felt on receiving a screening result of cervical abnormalities:

‘The result from my screening explained I had 'high grade dyskaryosis'. I was dazed. I'd never heard of the words dyskaryosis or colposcopy, and I knew nothing about CIN or an abnormal result’

Read more of Lisa’s Story here.


Date last updated: 
22 Jan 2016
Date due for review: 
26 Jan 2018

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