Management of Abnormal Cervical Smears

What is the management of abnormal cervical screening results?

Depending on the degree of abnormality, and sometimes an HPV DNA result, the doctor or nurse will recommend a colposcopy examination.

Treatment will only be required if there are abnormal cell changes on the cervix. These changes are called ‘Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia’ (CIN) or cervical dysplasia. CIN is categorised as low grade CIN1, and high grade CIN2 to 3. The majority of cases of CIN1 usually return to normal without any treatment. Women with CIN2 to 3 are treated because of a risk of progressing to cancer if not treated. High grade changes are not cancers, and they take many years to turn into cancer.

HPV DNA tests are used in certain clinical situations, usually in conjunction with cervical screening. The test can be helpful in deciding what follow-up is required. More information on HPV testing is available on www.nsu.govt.nz.

A colposcope is like a pair of medical binoculars on a stand and it magnifies the cells on the cervix. Colposcopy shows where the abnormal cells are. A tiny piece of tissue may be removed (a biopsy) which may cause brief discomfort. The biopsy is sent to a laboratory to confirm if an abnormality is present. These procedures are simple and require only a short visit to a hospital clinic or private specialist.

In some situations the specialist may request HPV Type testing to assist in further management.

Treatment is only required if there are certain abnormal cell changes of the cervix.

 

What about the future?

Most cervical cancers can be prevented by HPV vaccination and having regular cervical screening.

Vaccination, regular screening, and following National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) recommended guidelines if any abnormalities are identified, is the most effective pathway for women to follow to prevent invasive cervical cancer developing.

Regular cervical screening is important to detect cell changes that could, if untreated, lead to cervical cancer. There is no evidence that HPV will affect the ability to have children, or affect pregnancy.

Smoking decreases the immune system’s ability to deal with the HPV virus and therefore may increase your risk of developing abnormal cell changes. So, most importantly, try to give up smoking.

More information on cervical screening is available on www.nsu.govt.nz.

 

Click here for a printable pamphlet - Cervical Smears and the Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV)

About HPV

About HPV

HPV is thought to be the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world, and most people are infected with HPV at some time in their…
HPV Key Facts

HPV Key Facts

HPV infection - key information – Vaccination against HPV has been available for many years. 80% of unvaccinated adults will pick up HPV at some point…
HPV Strains

HPV Strains

Papilloma is a word that means a small wart-like growth on the skin or mucous membrane. There are many types of papilloma infections - even some that…
HPV & Cancer

HPV & Cancer

While HPV is an extremely common infection, and there is a link between HPV and cervical, anal, penile, some vulval and throat cancers, it is…
HPV & Throat Cancer

HPV & Throat Cancer

HPV is transmitted to your mouth by oral sex. It may also be possible to get oral HPV in other ways. An increased number of oral sex partners…
HPV & Cervical Cancer

HPV & Cervical Cancer

Some types of HPV are linked to abnormal cell changes on the cervix which place women at higher risk of abnormal cervical smears and developing…
HPV & Other Cancers

HPV & Other Cancers

HPV and penile cancer – HPV-related penile cancers most often affect the ‘head’ of the penis and are rare. HPV and anal cancer – HPV-associated anal…
FAQ

FAQ

Frequently asked questions and key facts about HPV – Human Papillomavirus – FAQ's
HPV & Relationships

HPV & Relationships

The emotional impact of finding out that you or your partner has an STI can sometimes be worse than the actual infection. It’s really important to…
HPV Project New Zealand

The NZ HPV Project is supported by: 

  • An educational grant from New Zealand District Health Boards
  • CSL Biotherapies Ltd NZ for an educational grant contributing to optimisation.

Brought to you by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF). 

For information or advice on where to seek help, please get in touch.

YouTube-logo-2017-logotype.png   Just The Facts – about Sexual Health and STIs

CONTACT US


New Zealand HPV Project
C/- Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation Inc (STIEF)

PO Box 2437, Shortland Street,
Auckland 1140, New Zealand

[email protected]

Tollfree: 0508 11 12 13
If calling from mobile: 09 433 6526