Booking your screening appointment
We won't automatically invite you for your first appointment. You must make this yourself with your GP surgery when you reach 25, or if you move to the Island. You can ask for an appointment with a female doctor or nurse if you prefer. After your initial screening we will invite you every 3 or 5 years, depending on your age.
The cervical screening test and consultation are free at GP surgeries in Jersey. Cervical screening is also free at The Community Contraception Centre at Le Bas Centre.
Cervical screening programme
Le Bas Centre clinic
The Cervical Screening clinic provides cervical screenings (smear tests) free of charge.
To book an appointment at Le Bas Centre Clinic, you can contact us by:
What to expect when you arrive
When you arrive for your appointment, we check you in at reception and confirm your details. We ask you to have a seat in the waiting area until our clinician is ready to see you.
There is limited parking available at the centre. If you arrive and there're no spaces available, let reception know.
When to book an appointment
The best time to book your cervical screening appointment is when you don't have your period. If you're unsure, ask when you make your appointment.
Many women prefer having a female doctor or nurse to carry out the test. You can specify this when you book your appointment.
Don't use any vaginal medications, lubricants or creams in the 2 days before you have your test because they can affect the sample results.
What happens during screening
The cervical screening test uses a soft brush to take a small sample of cells from the surface of your cervix. You might find the procedure a bit uncomfortable or embarrassing, but for most women it isn't painful.
At your appointment:
- you'll need to undress from the waist down and lie on an examination couch with a towel or blanket covering your lower half. If you’re wearing a loose skirt you can just remove your underwear
- you'll position yourself on your back with your knees bent and apart. If you have back pain or mobility problems, tell the doctor or nurse
- your nurse or GP will gently insert a speculum (medical instrument) into your vagina to hold it open, so they can see your cervix
- they will then gently brush cells from the cervix using a soft brush. The cells will be sent to a specialist laboratory for testing
- you can then get dressed
Watch a video about having a cervical screening test on NHS Choices website.
You'll be advised how and when you'll get your result (this is usually within a month).
The results of your cervical screening
This information describes the possible results of your cervical screening and what they mean.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
The method of testing is designed to detect human papillomavirus (HPV). This test is known as HPV primary screening. Some high-risk types of HPV can lead to abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. If a sample is HPV positive, it will be tested for abnormal cervical cells. HPV primary screening ensures early signs of cervical disease are spotted and treated earlier.
After your cervical screening test, you will receive one of four possible results:
- HPV negative
- HPV positive: no abnormal cells
- HPV positive: abnormal cells
- Inadequate result
If you receive a HPV negative result, this means it’s highly unlikely that you will have any abnormal cervical cells. Even if you did, it would be extremely unlikely that they would cause a problem. We will simply call you back for screening again in 3 or 5 years’ time (depending on your age).
HPV positive: no abnormal cells
If your sample is HPV positive we also test it for abnormal cervical cells. If none are found, your result will say you have HPV, but no abnormal cells. We will ask you to come sooner than usual for another screening (your result letter will explain when). This is so we can check if your immune system has got rid of the HPV (this happens in most cases).
HPV positive: abnormal cells
There are several ‘grades’ of abnormal cells as some are more serious than others. The Cytology section below describes this further. If you have HPV and any grade of abnormal cervical cells we will refer you for colposcopy.
Colposcopy is a closer examination of the cervix performed at an out-patient clinic at the hospital. A colposcope is like a pair of binoculars on a stand. This allows the doctor to see the cervix magnified so they can assess the abnormal cells. Sometimes a biopsy or removal of abnormal cells will be performed to help prevent cancer.
Occasionally a sample may be called ‘inadequate’. This may be due to a technical problem, for example if the laboratory cannot get an HPV test result from your sample or cannot see if abnormal cells are present or not. If you have an inadequate test, we will ask you to have cervical screening again in 3 months’ time. We wait so that there are enough cells again to get a sample from.
Cytology examines your cells to determine a diagnosis. Finding out you have cell changes may be worrying, especially if you haven't heard of them before.
Cell changes may be described as:
Dyskaryosis is divided into 3 catagories:
These cell changes aren't dangerous in their own right. They are not cervical cancer and having them does not mean you will develop cervical cancer.
Most cell changes will get better either by themselves or with treatment
This is where the cells are not quite normal but are not abnormal enough to be called dyskaryosis.
There are some mild changes within the cells. Most of these changes go back to normal without any treatment.
If more moderate changes are seen, it is still very unlikely that you will have cervical cancer.
The main difference compared with mild changes is that they are less likely to return to normal by themselves, and more likely to require treatment.
This is a more serious change and suggests that cervical cancer might be present. This is not proven until a sample of cervical tissue (biopsy) has been taken at colposcopy.
Glandular neoplasia of endocervical type
Neoplasia means new growth of cells and endocervical means that the cells are from the inside part of the cervix.
These cells can sometimes be difficult to see during a colposcopy so you may be offered a treatment at the time of your colposcopy.
Sometimes the result is “inadequate" which means that there weren't enough cells in the sample. You will be advised to have another test in 3 months' time.
Biopsy or treatment results
The sample (biopsy) taken during the colposcopy is looked at under the microscope. This is called “histology".
The changes are called:
- Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN)
- Cervical Glandular Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CGIN)
- Stratified Mucin-producing Intraepithelial LEsion (SMILE)
CIN is a change in the cells on the outer part of the cervix. This is not cancer.
It is graded from CIN 1 to CIN 3. The number shows how deep the cell changes go into the surface of the cervix.
One-third of the thickness of the surface layer is affected.
CIN 1 will often return to normal with no treatment.
Two-thirds of the thickness of the surface layer is affected.
You may be offered either treatment to remove the cells, or a follow-up check in 6 months to see if the cell changes go back to normal by themselves.
The full thickness of the surface layer is affected.
If not treated these changes are more likely to eventually develop into cervical cancer. You will be offered treatment to stop that happening.
This affects cells inside the cervical canal. It is less common than CIN. Sometimes CIN and CGIN are both present
CGIN is graded as low grade and high grade.
If you have any grade of CGIN you will be offered treatment.
This is a rare change that is seen in the cells lining the inside of the cervix. It is often seen with CGIN and is treated in the same way.
Symptoms between screening tests
Screening isn't a suitable test for investigating symptoms. If you have symptoms between screening tests (such as discharge, bleeding after sex or bleeding between periods) you should see your GP as soon as possible as they may refer you to a Gynaecology specialist at the hospital for investigations.
Don't wait for your next screening test. In fact, a screening test could come back as negative and may lead your GP into a false sense of security that they don't refer you to a specialist in hospital.
Find out more about the symptoms of cervical cancer and how to reduce your risk.