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You will be invited back for a follow up test about 6 months after treatment for cell changes. This is usually done at:
Your invitation letter will tell you where to go.
The follow up test is like cervical screening and is called a test of cure. The exact follow up you have will be different depending on the type of cell changes you have.
Most of the time, treatment for cell changes is successful and you won’t have any further problems. Going to these follow up appointments is important to confirm this and make sure you get any other care you need.
The sample taken at your 6 month follow up will be checked for HPV :
If you don’t have HPV, you will be invited back for cervical screening in 3 years, whatever your age.
If you have HPV, you will be referred to colposcopy. Your sample will also be checked for cell changes, to help the colposcopist with any plans for further treatment or monitoring.
The sample taken at your 6 month follow up will be checked for HPV and cell changes:
If you don’t have HPV and no cell changes, you will be invited for cervical screening in 3 years time, whatever your age.
If you have either HPV or cell changes (or both), you will be referred to colposcopy.
The sample taken at your 6 month follow up will be checked for cell changes:
If you don’t have cell changes, you will be invited for cervical screening in 3 years time, whatever your age.
If your result suggests you have low-grade or mild cell changes, the same sample will be checked for HPV:
If your result suggests you have high-grade cell changes, you will be referred to colposcopy for further tests.
You will have follow up appointments about 6 and 18 months after treatment. The samples taken at these appointments will be checked for HPV:
If you don’t have HPV at either appointment, you will be invited back for cervical screening in 3 years. This will happen whatever your age.
If you have HPV at either appointment, your sample will be checked for cell changes:
You will have follow up appointments about 6 and 12 months after treatment. The samples taken at these appointments will be checked for cell changes. This is usually at your colposcopy clinic:
If you don’t have cell changes, you will be invited back for cervical screening every year for 5 years. This will happen whatever your age.
If you have cell changes at any of your follow up tests, you will be referred to colposcopy. You may have further tests and may be offered more treatment.
Sometimes the tissue taken during treatment won’t have clear margins. Having clear margins this means there is an edge around the cell changes that are ‘clear’ – there are no cell changes there.
If you don’t have clear margins, you will be offered further treatment.
If you don’t want further treatment, or it isn’t possible, you will have a follow up appointment after about 6 months. Your sample will be checked for HPV:
Most treatment for cell changes is successful but, for a few people, cell changes may come back in the future. Going for follow up appointments when invited helps find any cell changes early, so they can be monitored or treated as needed.
The colposcopy department at the hospital where you had treatment is responsible for telling the invitation system that you need a follow up appointment. You should get a letter in the post automatically. If you haven’t had one, call the hospital.
Your colposcopy team won’t stop inviting you for follow up appointments until they are happy you have had all of the tests that the guidance suggests.
If you are worried about what will happen, it is best to speak with your colposcopy team. They can explain the thinking behind your treatment or care plan, and why they have recommended you continue with or stop follow up appointments.
The length of time between appointments are based on your results. These pathways have been put in place based on it being safe for you. If you are worried or want to understand more about your personal situation, your colposcopy team are there to talk it through with you.
We know that waiting and going for follow up appointments may make you feel anxious, especially when you’re trying to understand how often you should be invited and the reasons behind that. Talking to your colposcopy team is key to getting that understanding and starting to feel reassured.
If you aren’t sure how to start that conversation, you can give our free Helpline a call on 0808 802 8000. Our trained volunteers can talk through the different pathways or simply listen to how you’re feeling.
Sometimes connecting with others who have gone through a similar experience can be helpful. Our online Forum lets our community give and get support. You can read through the messages or post your own – whichever feels most comfortable.
Thank you to all the experts who checked the accuracy of this information, and the volunteers who shared their personal experience to help us develop it.
We write our information based on literature searches and expert review. For more information about all the references we used, please contact [email protected]