CERVICAL SCREENING TEST (SMEAR TEST)
Cervical Screening test is a simple diagnostic procedure used to prevent, as well as, detect precancerous/abnormal changes to the cells in the cervix or invasive cervical cancer. The test is vital because early detection of alarming changes significantly raises the chances of full recovery.
What are the indications for the test?
Cervical Screening test should be performed in specific time frames – especially between 25 and 69 years of age. In that time span, each woman should have the test at least every three years. In case of abnormal test result, the doctor decides how often the test should be repeated. It is recommended to have the first cervical screening test within 3 years after becoming sexually active.
How to prepare for the screening?
It is recommended to come for the test in the first phase of menstrual cycle, no sooner than 2 days after the monthly period.
In case of patients using vaginal creams, suppositories or any other types of vaginal medicines, they have to stop applying them two days before the test.
If the patient has a vaginal infection, it has to be first treated after a consultation with a gynaecologist. The screening has to be postponed for at least a week after the treatment has finished.
How is the screening performed?
The test is performed on a gynaecological couch and takes a few minutes. After introducing a speculum into the vagina, the doctor gently scrapes some cells from the surface of the cervix with a small plastic brush. To make sure the results are reliable, two samples are always taken: from the skin-like cells on the outer, vaginal surface of the cervix and from the more glandular cells that line the inner canal that leads to the cavity of the womb. Both samples are immediately ‘fixed’ onto the microscope slide with a special preservative.
Next, the obtained samples are sent to the laboratory, where they are analysed by a qualified specialist.