Cervical screening (smear test) is offered to all sexually active New Zealand women over the age of 20. The purpose is to identify abnormal cells while they are still confined to the surface layer on the cervix. This is the pre-cancerous state.

If abnormal cells are identified colposcopy is recommended. This is an examination of the cervix using a microscope. A biopsy is often taken.

Often the abnormality is found to be minor (CIN1 or HPV), but if it is higher grade (CIN2or 3) then removal of the abnormal area is recommended. This can usually be performed under local anaesthetic and no hospitalisation required.

Anne Sissons is a certified colposcopist, maintaining certification with the RANZCOG. She will normally see new referrals for colposcopy within 2 weeks, regardless of the smear results, because she understands the anxiety an abnormal smear result causes.

Understand your smear result.

Further information on colposcopy.