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To not know they did this at a smear test

(201 Posts)
ILoveBray Mon 11-Mar-19 13:22:08

Came back from mine today, and they are now adding in HPV screening. Not sure when this was added, but I'm pretty sure I didn't have it 3 years ago.

Think this is such a good idea, as if you have HPV you have a higher chance of getting cervical cancer.

Not really an AIBU, more a reminder to book in for your screening if it's been more than 3 years grin

*This post was edited by MNHQ at OP's request*

LoudBatPerson Mon 11-Mar-19 13:25:17

I not sure if this national or not, but I had a smear last year and got a results letter a few weeks later which states we screened the swab for HPV and this was negative.

As the HPV was negative no further screening was carried out.

I don't know if that is happening everywhere or not. Seems a great idea to me to screen for HPV, not sure about not analysing the actual cells though as surely this will miss non HPV related cases , which although are the minority, do still exist.

eurochick Mon 11-Mar-19 13:26:42

You don't have a very high chance of cancer if you have hpv! Please don't be alarmist. A majority of U.K. adults will have hpv at some point in their lives. The vast majority will not get cervical cancer.

Hpv is present for over 99% of cervical cancers though, so that is why they are testing.

QuirkyQuark Mon 11-Mar-19 13:28:32

I found out had hpv ata smear 5 years ago so in my area it's been tested for for a while.

ILoveBray Mon 11-Mar-19 13:28:56

eurochick Sorry didn't mean to be alarmist! This is what the nurse said when I asked her about it.

Apologies if it's wrong.

edwinbear Mon 11-Mar-19 13:30:06

I just had the results letter from my last smear last week, there was no mention of HPV testing (SE London).

ILoveBray Mon 11-Mar-19 13:31:20

edwinbear possibly regional then. I'm in Essex, perhaps you could request it though?

PurplePotatoes Mon 11-Mar-19 13:34:15

Yes Loudbatperson I was told the same, in fact the nurse said even if there were mild changes detected but no HPV present then no further action/treatment would be taken at that time.

SaveKevin Mon 11-Mar-19 13:36:28

Yes i believe its being trialled in certain areas at the moment.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Mon 11-Mar-19 13:36:56

I thought the smear was for hpv? I had one in 2006 or 2007 where it picked up abnormal cells, it was hpv. I had a colposcopy (I think it’s that one) and everything was fine.

sadwithkiddies Mon 11-Mar-19 13:38:03

I am hpv negative with abnormal smear test.
As its hpv negative my abnormal smear is being ignored as the risk of cancer is therefore so low.
I do feel a bit worried about it, but have to trust as GP won't refer me on anyway.

LoudBatPerson Mon 11-Mar-19 13:38:49

I thought the smear was for hpv?

I believe (happy to be corrected), that the smear is to detect early changes in the cells of the cervix which may develop into cancer if not treated. These changes could be caused by HPV, however, can (in about 1%) of cases occur with the presence of HPV.

1sttimeDD Mon 11-Mar-19 13:41:19

Does your authority not send you an information booklet with your invitation letter?? Ours is very thorough and clearly outlines the process and what it being tested.

Purplecatshopaholic Mon 11-Mar-19 13:51:47

Maybe they dont do the HPV thing for us older chicks (I am late 40s), or maybe not in Scotland, not sure. Had my 'Cervical Screen' as we now call it apparently, a few months ago and it was all clear - not the most fun in the world but totally worth it....

EarringsandLipstick Mon 11-Mar-19 13:53:34

In Ireland HPV tests have been a routine part of cervical screening since 2015 [how these tests have been managed, interpreted and communicated is of course the subject of a huge crisis in the programme in recent times and ongoing, of course]

Tawdrylocalbrouhaha Mon 11-Mar-19 13:57:29

They don't do it in my area (East London). I wish they did - it seems a shame to go through all that prodding and poking and then not get the most useful information out of it.

LucilleBluth Mon 11-Mar-19 13:57:33

Don't say a very high chance, what a fucking shit thing to say.

7Pip Mon 11-Mar-19 13:59:39

My latest smear (last year) found a 'high-risk' strain of HPV present. Abnormal smear. Colposcopy and then biopsy found them to be minor changes and I've been told I don't have to go back for another 3 years. (North-East London).

saxatablesalt Mon 11-Mar-19 14:00:33

They don't do it in my area. I got it done privately though, just did a swab. Cost about sixty quid I think.

SoyDora Mon 11-Mar-19 14:00:37

Many people carry HPV, and it absolutely does not mean you have a very high chance of developing cervical cancer. I am shocked the nurse said that to you.
I am HPV negative and have had abnormal smear results with mild changes. These have thankfully corrected themselves.

downcasteyes Mon 11-Mar-19 14:09:17

The HPV screening isn't 'added in' so much as replacing cytology as the first line of testing.

Basically, to get cervical cancer you have to have had HPV. Most of us have had it - it's like the common cold, extremely easy to catch and extremely prevalent in sexually active people.* Most women clear it without any issue at all, and (once they have) come out of the test HPV negative. However, for reasons that aren't completely understood, the HPV infection persists in some women, and starts to cause cellular changes that can go on to become cancerous.

The smear now tests for HPV first. If you're found to have it, the same sample is sent on for cytology (having a look at the cells). The vast majority of HPV positive samples are fine!

* The reason cervical testing isn't offered to younger age women is that the rates of HPV infection are so high that you get huge numbers of positive tests. The vast majority of those women are completely healthy - cervical cancer is vanishingly rare in this age group.

ILoveBray Mon 11-Mar-19 14:10:43


Please chill out. I already said in a previous post that I was reiterating what the nurse said and apologised for the 'alarmist' wording. I had no idea they tested for this so it was all news to me.

downcasteyes Mon 11-Mar-19 14:11:29

(So, to break that down: the vast majority of women reading this will have had HPV, and are not at high risk of cervical cancer. Please don't panic if you are told you have HPV!)

Katiepoes Mon 11-Mar-19 14:13:00

I had abnormal cells with a HPV + result last year, all it meant was they tested further. That came back without any signs that we need worry - one or other of these alone is not so bad, in my case the combination meant more testing - at no point was there even a hint of a suggestion of a 'high chance' of anything apart from an uncomfortable 5 mins in stirrups. Your nurse needs some training.

You are right though, HPV screening should be standard everywhere, it has been here for years.

aLilNonnyMouse Mon 11-Mar-19 14:16:06

I'm quite happy about it myself. My last smear results showed I didn't have HPV so I'm having the vaccination tomorrow!

I highly recommend asking for the same from your GP if anyone else gets a negative test and hasn't had the vaccine yet

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