Cytology and biopsy results disagree

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Hello everyone, I am hoping to get any information/knowledge/advice from people who have more experience than me.

I had an abnormal smear a couple of months ago, testing positive for HPV and showing cancer. When I went for my colposcopy, the doctor assumed I had missed previous smears but I explained I have always attended every 3 years and never been called back. 

5 weeks later I have just had a call from her explaining that there is a discrepancy between the cytology and biopsy results. Cytology have reconfirmed several times there is definitely cancer, but the biopsy is completely normal. She said this is very unusual and they will contact me in a week to arrange more tests.

Has anyone ever heard of this happening before? Any opinions about which test is more likely to be correct? I completely understand the medical professionals dont want to give any indications before they are certain, but I am so new to this that I would like to at least prepare myself for the possible outcomes I'm dealing with here.

Absolutely any information or thoughts would be helpful, I know so little! Thank you for reading.

  • Hi  and welcome to our group!

    It must be very confusing to have discrepancies come up like this, but as we are not medical professionals in the group it would be difficult to comment on the possible reasons for this, and wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on which result might be the more reliable. You could try posing your question to one of the nurses by posting in the “ask an expert” section of the community by clicking on the link at the top of the page?

    Normally where there is a discrepancy in results like this, your case would discussed at an MDT ( multidisciplinary team) meeting where specialists come together to decide on the next best course of action. The team would decide on the tests necessary to come to a definitive diagnosis for you moving forward, but it’s hard to know what these might be at this stage.

    I appreciate this must be really unsettling for you at the moment, but I think you’ll have to sit tight for now and wait to hear what’s next. Please stay with us in the group and let us know how you get on. Once you know what’s happening I’m sure we can provide plenty support for you- we have a lovely group of ladies here who will make you very welcome and help if we can. I hope you find out soon what’s going to happen next.

    Sarah xx


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  • Hi Sarah, thank you for your kind reply. I realise I was searching for answers and in fact there are none right now I must just wait.

    I have noted the information you gave and I will definitely come back to introduce myself properly once my situation is a little clearer.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply Slight smile

  • Hi 

    The waiting for more information is always a hard time for us, and everything seems to take so long when you’re in this limbo land. I’m sure you’ll feel much better when you know what’s going on and how it’s going to be dealt with.

    Sarah xx


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  • I thought I would just pop back with an update, sorry it's been so long things carried on being uncertain for quite a while! They settled on CIN3, after 3 MDT meetings...they must have got sick of my name!  and I've got a repeat colposcopy booked in 6 months from the first. they did also do a hysteroscopy because of the unusual results, and that game back all clear, so that's a relief. Sweat smilesorry it's not hugely informative, but thought it might just be useful for anyone reading this thread if they find themselves in a similar position. I'll pop back if I find out anything more. 

  • Hi  

    It’s so good of you to come back with an update-thank you so much! This is really good news for you, and hopefully that can continue with your next colposcopy. It’s been a long time to get to your final result, so that must have been pretty stressful for you. 

    It’s good too that your hysteroscopy came back clear. It’s so useful for others coming into the group to read how things have turned out, especially in a situation like yours where there has been a discrepancy in results. It’s very encouraging to read.

    Hopefully you’ll come back and let us know how your next colposcopy goes, but in the meantime I wish you all the best and hope things continue to go well for you. 

    Take care

    Sarah xx


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