Advice please smear test

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I wondered if I may have some advice. I recently had my smear test (never ever had problems before) this came back a bit off. My letter says and I quote

"Your results show you have HPV. This is called a HPV positive result. We also looked for abnormal cells in your sample but we did NOT find any. This means you are currently at low risk of cervical cancer"

I've been told to go back in 12 months for a repeat smear. My questions are...

How serious is this?

Why do I have to wait a whole year? 

How comes this has only just come up? I'm freaking out a bit. I am a bit of a worrier anyway but now I don't know what to think....

  • Hi, sorry you've got yourself so upset over this but it's not as bad as it sounds. So they now know that most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus, which is why they will offer you more regular smears now you have tested positive for this, as it can cause abnormal cell changes. However, it is good that at the moment you don't have any and are being tested again in 1 year. HPV can lie dormant in the body for years and also goes through periods of being active (where it can be picked up in a smear) and dormant(where it won't be detected on a smear). My smear in October came back HPV positive woth severe cell changes, I was absolutely manic with worry, however I had a procedure to remove the cells and I will have another smear in June. Its really good news that you will have another smear in 12months, as if there are any cell changes they will likely be caught early in that time period. Try and relax xx

  • Hi   and welcome to the group

    It can be a bit of a shock to get an unexpected result from a test but please take a deep breath first of all, and stay calm.

    Hpv is a hugely common virus which almost all the sexually active population will have come in contact with in their lives. For most it causes no issues at all. 

    It’s only in the past few years that the smear test has tested for hpv first. Previous tests were looking for abnormal cells, and if these weren’t identified then no further testing was required. So you may have had the virus and simply not known about it. 

    Now the screening tests for hpv and if there is a positive result you are checked for any abnormal cells as the virus can cause cervical cell changes. You do not have these changes which is very good news. Having hpv is not in itself serious, and the normal protocol is to repeat the smear in a year to see if anything has changed. Cervical cell changes are considered to be very slow, so it is standard so wait a year for the next test.

    The screening programme means that any cell changes can be picked up early and dealt with long before they would become cancerous.

    Please try not to worry-this is not a result to worry about at all.

    Sarah xx

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  • Can I ask? What happens if on my next test it says I still have HPV?

  • If you still have hpv they will check for abnormal cells again. There is no cure for hpv but it can be either active or dormant and will only show on a test when it’s active. If it’s dormant, it means your immune system has been able to suppress it and it is not doing any damage.

    Just having hpv does not mean your cells would ever become abnormal, but they do keep you under surveillance with regular smears.

    Sarah xx

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm