Booking your appointment
You won't automatically be invited for screening when you reach 25 or when you move to the Island.
You need to book your first appointment with your GP surgery. You can ask for an appointment with a female doctor or nurse. You'll then be invited every three or five 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 screening's (smear test) free of charge.
To book an appointment at Le Bas Centre Clinic, email Le Bas or phone +44 (0) 1534 443781.
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 / 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
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. Compared to the previously used cytology method of testing, 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 for screening again sooner than usual (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. Your result letter will explain what your results mean. 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.
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 he/she 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 he/she doesn't refer you to a specialist in hospital.
Find out more about the symptoms of cervical cancer and how to reduce your risk.