At TFP, we want you to be screened with a cervical cell sample (smear test) before you start treatment. This is done to ensure that you do not face challenges during the process that could have been avoided. The purpose of a cervical smear is to diagnose cervical cancer precursors (cell changes) so that any cell changes can be treated, and cervical cancer can be prevented.
As cervical cancer precursors usually do not cause any symptoms, they are only detected when a smear, or cervical cell test, is taken. There are several degrees of abnormal cells and having cell changes does not mean having cervical cancer.
A smear test is taken during a regular gynaecological examination, where the cervical cell sample is taken with a small soft brush. It does not hurt to have a sample taken, but it can be uncomfortable. The sample is then sent for further testing for abnormal cells. Usually, you will get an answer after a few weeks. If the cell test shows that you have abnormal cells or mild cell changes, it is far from certain that you need treatment. In these cases, you will be advised to have another check-up, after which a decision will be made on the next steps.
We stress that cell changes seen on a smear test are in no way synonymous with cervical cancer, but they should always be investigated further.