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Getting your colposcopy results

Your colposcopy results tell you:

  • what the expert (colposcopist) saw during your appointment 
  • if you had one, what your biopsy showed. 

Waiting for results can be difficult and you may feel anxious about what they will say, but we are here for you. If you want to talk, you can call our Helpline on 0808 802 8000, join our forum or use one of our other support services.

Get support > 

It’s important to know that colposcopy results are different to cervical screening (smear test) results. This can be confusing, but if you have any questions, your colposcopist or GP will be able to explain exactly what your results mean. 

Normal result

About 4 in 10 (40%) colposcopy results are normal . This means no cell changes (abnormal cells) were found in your cervix during colposcopy or biopsy. 

If you have a normal result, you do not need any treatment and are at low risk of developing cervical cancer. 

You will usually be advised to continue going to cervical screening (smear tests) when invited, in case cell changes develop in future. You will be invited in 3 or 5 years, depending on your age.

Read about cervical screening > 

You can have a normal colposcopy result even if you had an abnormal cervical screening result. This is because cervical screening does not diagnose cell changes. Instead, it offers a snapshot of cervical cells that suggests whether you need further tests. Colposcopy is a much more detailed look at your cervix, which is why the results can be different.

Abnormal result

About 6 in 10 (60%) colposcopy results are abnormal. This means the tests done during colposcopy or biopsy have confirmed you have cell changes.

Possible abnormal results include:

  • cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 
  • cervical glandular intraepithelial neoplasia (CGIN). 

Read more about CIN and CGIN > 

Rarely, a colposcopy result will show cervical cancer. If this happens, you'll be referred to a team of specialists to discuss treatment.

Read more about cervical cancer > 

Getting an abnormal result can be scary or upsetting. You may not understand what the result means for you or worry that you will be more at risk in future. If you have any questions or just want to chat about how you feel, we are here. You can:

Other things to look out for in your results

Your results may include the words ‘koilocytosis’ or ‘koilocytotic atypia’. These may sound a bit scary, but it’s simply a way to describe cells that develop if someone has human papillomavirus (HPV). 

Koilocytosis is usually seen in cervical tissue samples that have abnormal cell growth. This abnormal cell growth is also called dyskaryosis. So seeing these words is just an indication to watch for cell changes.

More information about colposcopy results

Whatever your result, the experience of going for colposcopy, waiting for results and possibly getting a diagnosis can cause a lot of anxiety and distress. If you have questions or just need to talk, we are here for you. 

Read more about CIN and CGIN > 

Our trained Helpline volunteers all have personal experience of cell changes or cervical cancer, so they understand what you are going through. Give them a call free on 0808 802 800.

Check our Helpline opening hours > 

If you feel lonely or want to connect with someone who understands, you can chat with others affected on our Forum or read through the posts.

Join our online Forum >

Your result may leave you with questions or worries that you need an expert to answer. Our panel of medical experts are waiting for you to ask your questions – you can even do it anonymously.  

Use our Ask the Expert service > 

Date last updated: 
24 May 2019
Date due for review: 
23 May 2022

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