Results of the cervical screening test

Result Treatment needed
Negative (no changes to the cells have been found) No treatment – everything is fine and if your previous cervical screening tests were normal you will be recalled for screening in three or five years time, depending on where you live and your age.
Inadequate sample
The cervical screening test will be repeated in three months, which gives the cells of the cervix enough time to renew and reduces the risk of getting another inadequate sample.
Borderline
Treatment options depend on where you live in the UK: 
Scotland:
Repeat screening within six months. Often slightly abnormal cells can recover without further treatment, but you will need three normal six monthly screenings before you can be returned into the normal screening program. 
England, Northern Ireland and Wales:
An HPV test will be done on the same sample of cells taken during your cervical screening (this test is called HPV triage). This will be done automatically by the laboratory if your test shows up with borderline or low grade changes. If your test shows no high risk HPV (ie. this test is negative) you can return to the regular screening intervals. If the test is positive for high risk HPV you will be sent to colposcopy for a further check up. 
Low grade squamous dyskaryosis (sometimes called mild dyskaryosis or mild cell changes)
High grade squamous dyskaryosis (sometimes called moderate dyskaryosis or moderate cell changes)
You will be sent for a colposcopy. The abnormal cells will probably need to be removed. Further treatment will be based on the results of the colposcopy and any biopsy of the affected area. 
High grade squamous dyskaryosis (sometimes called severe dyskaryosis or severe cell changes)
Abnormal glandular cells or glandular dyskaryosis

You can read about each of these results by downloading our PDF on the results of cervical screening.

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 may 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. During your colposcopy the doctor or nurse will explain the procedure to you further. In this section we will explain more about colposcopy and give you information on possible treatment for cervical abnormalities.

If you have more questions about the results of cervical screening or treatment for abnormal cells don’t forget we have a helpline – 0808 802 8000.

 

Would you like to get involved with our work by helping us develop and improve our information and services? Visit the pages on our patient feedback group, Jo’s Voices, to see how to get involved.

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

Information Standard logo

Have a question? Need to talk?

Our helpline is currently closed, find out when it’s next open.

Or submit your question via our Ask the Expert online service

Rate the information on this page

When you click on an answer below, your vote will be submitted automatically. We do also ask that you please submit a comment and click ‘send feedback’ to provide comment about our information.

Do you feel more informed after reading this information?
Did the information make you feel reassured/supported?
Rate this page
You voted: . Total votes: 20. Average rating: 3.55