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If this is your first time being invited to colposcopy, you may feel worried about why you’ve been invited, as well as feeling unsure about practical things, like what will happen at the appointment.
We want you feel as comfortable and confident as possible, so on this page we talk through:
If you want to talk anything through or have specific questions, our support services may be able to help. You can give our Helpline a call on 0808 802 8000 or join our forum to talk with others who have gone to colposcopy.
Colposcopy is an examination to take a closer look at your cervix. An expert, called a colposcopist, does the examination. This is a different expert to the one at your cervical screening (smear test).
Colposcopy is used to both diagnose and treat cell changes (abnormal cells). If you need treatment, you may:
Most cell changes go away on their own, but some may develop into cervical cancer. Colposcopy helps identify whether cell changes need treatment to stop this happening.
After cervical screening, you may be invited for colposcopy because:
A cervical screening result may show cell changes that are not very extensive. These are usually called low-grade cell changes or low-grade dyskaryosis.
In England and Northern Ireland, these cell changes are also tested for high-risk HPV as part of cervical screening.
If you don’t have high-risk HPV, you do not need to go to colposcopy. This is because the cell changes are unlikely to develop into cervical cancer.
Colposcopy is usually done in a hospital. The appointment takes between 15 and 30 minutes. You can go home soon after the appointment.
Things to think about before your appointment:
Contact the hospital if:
If you feel worried about colposcopy or are not sure if you need to do anything before your appointment, there are lots of places to get support.
If you have a specific question about your colposcopy appointment, ring the hospital you are booked in with. They can talk you through everything you need to know.
If you have general questions about colposcopy or just want to talk, we are here for you. Call our Helpline on 0808 802 8000 to speak with our trained volunteers.
If you have a medical question, you can get an answer from our panel of experts.
Sometimes it can help to connect with others who are going through or have gone through the same experience. If you think this might help, join our Forum – you can write a post or just read what others are talking about.