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Cervical screening results (smear test results)


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 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.
Treatment options depend on where you live in the UK: 
Repeat screening will be done after six months, as slightly abnormal cells can often recover on their own without further treatment. You will need two normal six monthly screenings after a borderline screening result, and three normal six monthly screenings after a result of low grade dyskaryosis, before you are 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: 
02 May 2017
Date due for review: 
26 Jan 2019

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