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Abnormal smear - please help. Panicking

(106 Posts)
Babyowl20 Mon 17-Feb-20 11:55:12

I had a phone call this morning from the hospital about my smear test results. They wanted to book me an appointment for this Friday because the results have come back as moderate.

I’m scared to google incase that means I have cancer or if it’s really bad. Has anyone had this previously and it’s turned out okay? I’m completely panicking. sad

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Gigitree Mon 17-Feb-20 12:00:51

It most likely does not mean you have cancer, it just means they have likely seen some pre-cancerous cells or they have determined that you have HPV. They will likely need to either re-test you or they will need to do a colposcopy to get rid of the HPV/pre-cancerous cells. It will depend on how severe it is. As you said it’s moderate there is every chance they will just want to see you again to talk everything through but will just want to re-rest you in 1-3 years.

Please try not to worry, this is what smear tests are for to find things before they progress to cancer.

JellyNo15 Mon 17-Feb-20 12:05:07

This happened to me years ago. I had potential cancerous cell due to HPV and had laser surgery to remove them. I had an annual smear for a few year but it was all good. I am sure there is something similar with your results.

garbagegirl Mon 17-Feb-20 12:05:48

My sister had exactly the same issue. Please don't worry it just means they need to keep an eye on things a little more or that the tests come back a little unclear even.

Well done for attending your smear test. Seriously, well done. Better to catch these things early IF there is anything to catch x

Caramel78 Mon 17-Feb-20 12:06:48

I had a moderate abnormal result once and was sent to the hospital for a colposcopy (basically the same as a smear but they have the equipment to look much closer at the cells on the cervix). They took a biopsy (which i was terrified about but just felt like a slight scratch for a couple of seconds).
A few weeks later I got the results that I had stage CIN2 which means pre cancerous cells but still a few stages away from being cancerous. I had the lletz treatment to remove the cells (took about 30 mins and involved a tiny injection in my cervix to numb it and then a heated wire loop to cut the cells out. I was beside myself with anxiety that it would be really painful but it really wasn’t any worse than being a bit uncomfortable). After that I bled lightly and had some period type cramps. I had to wear a sanitary pad for a month and refrain from sex, tampons and baths to avoid infections while my cervix healed.
My smears have been completely normal ever since and everything is fine.
Try not to worry but I know it’s hard not to. Whatever is causing your abnormal result has been detected early and will get dealt with

Babyowl20 Mon 17-Feb-20 12:14:47

They changed the screening in my area last month so they check for HPV first and if you have HPV they then check the cells. So I must have HPV for them to have checked the cells and found out I have moderate changes sad

Thank you for sharing your stories it’s made me feel slightly better but still on the verge of a panic attack. I can’t stop shaking.

Thank you for the details @Caramel78 I really appreciate it and I’m glad you’re okay now x

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opticaldelusion Mon 17-Feb-20 12:32:13

80% of the adult population have come into contact with HPV at some point, OP. This will get sorted. You will be OK. Keep yourself busy. By Friday evening, this will all be over and you'll be able to get on with your life.

shinook123 Mon 17-Feb-20 12:32:57

I had a smear test which came back as severe Cin 3.I googled and was terrified.I had laser treatment and a biopsy and was so relieved to get the results that it wasnt cancer.I had yearly smears for a while after which were all normal and I'm now back to 3 yearly smears.Please dont be too alarmed by your results.I hope by me posting my results were severe and it wasnt cancer that you find some reassurance.

Whosamawotsits Mon 17-Feb-20 12:37:36

I've just gone through this-again- had a lletz a week ago.
Please don't panic! In my experience (At my first ever smear I had cin 1-mild changes in 2018, cin 2-moderate changes in 2019 and finally cin 3-high grade change this year all with hpv present) they rang me in, did a colposcopy and kept an eye on me with yearly smears/biopsies, it wasnt until this year that they have actually done treatment because it just wasn't shifting. More often than not hpv will clear itself and you will require no treatment at all but they are always careful to keep an eye!

Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 10:21:30

Hi, thank you for all the replies.

I’ve had the letter through today and it says my cervix cells have ‘high grade (moderate) dyskaryosis’ - the high grade part is really panicking me. I have an appointment this Friday at the colposcopy clinic but I’m really struggling to function - I was feeling okay after I calmed down yesterday as the woman on the phone used the word moderate - but high grade sounds much more worrying sad has anyone had the same results and it has turned out okay?

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Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 10:26:32

Tried to attach a pic of the letter - hope it works

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Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 10:56:45


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MitziK Tue 18-Feb-20 11:09:07

Dyskaryosis is not cancer.

It means you need the colposcopy appointment.

But dyskariotic cells are not cancer.

Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 11:19:56

Thank you @MitziK I tried phoning my gp to discuss as the letter said but the receptionist advised booking a GP appointment tomorrow and couldn’t explain any of the letter to me.

But I don’t really want to take a GP slot when I already have a hospital appointment Friday.

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MitziK Tue 18-Feb-20 12:43:15

Waiting is always crap - but you are being seen quickly, partly because they recognise the strain it puts on people and partly because it is important to get it seen and sorted out - to prevent women avoiding it because they're scared and then having something worse later.

The receptionist isn't allowed to discuss it, so her only option is to suggest you make a GP appointment - but you're going to see the experts on Friday. They'll actually be looking at your entire cervix at that point. The GP can't see that, so can't give you any more useful information - but might be able to echo what I've said or even provide something to take the edge off your anxiety.

The thing is, the only way to know 100% is for you to have the colposcopy, any treatment they advise whilst they are there and results of any further tests they conduct. Nobody can make promises based upon what they cannot see and are not qualified to assess. But I can tell you unequivocally that test results identifying dyskaryotic cells is not a diagnosis of cancer.

When I had a borderline result, the nurse likened abnormal results to noticing you've left the hob on. Not necessarily a problem right now, but if it's left somebody could burn themselves on it later, so it's better to turn the thing off.

turnandfacethenamechange Tue 18-Feb-20 13:03:53


I had like eight smears in a row like this. They did a LLETZ and colposcapies and sorted it in the end. Try not to worry.


rebecca102 Tue 18-Feb-20 13:08:31

I had this once. Went in and got told everything was fine. Wtf.

maddening Tue 18-Feb-20 13:16:22

Have had 2 colonoscopys, they are not fun but not the worst thing ever. I had someone come with me which helped for me, the nurse was lovely both times, had local anaesthetic and they took the biopsy and did something to the cervix. Was then tested every 6 months for 3 years and am now back to every 3 years.

Most likely everything will be fine and it has been caught before anything sinister could happen.

TheGreyInThisCity Tue 18-Feb-20 13:24:10

Try not to panic, as others have said it’s really common to get an abnormal smear. It’s not something that we really talk about, but if you were to ask around your friends/family/colleagues I bet several of them will have been through the same thing. For the time being there’s some useful information here about what it means if you have an abnormal smear and what the next steps are likely to be, but I’m sure it will all be explained at your appointment:

Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 13:46:35

Thank you so much for the replies. I know I should be grateful that it’s been noticed early and I’m having the colposcopy appointment soon, I just have this horrible feeling of dread/nausea about it all. Haven’t eaten properly since I first got the phone call yesterday. I’m quite glad now I booked the appointment as soon as my smear test letter came through.

Thank you @MitziK I really like the analogy about leaving the hob on.

The woman (nurse? Not sure the correct title) who did my smear in the first place said not to panic, even if the results came back hpv positive/ abnormal cells it takes years and years to develop into cancer and that can be prevented effectively but of course the first thing I did was panic! sad

I have a group chat with around 15/20 friends of different ages and I’ve asked in there and several have had the same issue, some who’ve had the treatment and been fine since which is really reassuring.

Probably rambling a bit now - but thanks again for all of the responses, just reading through them is really helping me.

@turnandfacethenamechange @rebecca102 @maddening I’m really glad everything has worked out okay for you all. I know Friday is probably going to be quite unpleasant but I just want to get it over and done with now! They didn’t mention what would actually happen at the appointment or wether they’ll just take more cells or actually do any kind of treatment.. I’m hoping they can do any treatment there and then (although I expect it’ll be another appointment in the future) and that they can give some more information too.

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Bezalelle Tue 18-Feb-20 13:58:14

I really wish, along with the campaigns to get women to have smear tests, they should publicise the possible results you can get, to avoid panic. I also freaked out when I got a letter like this, as I had no idea what it meant. Turns out everything was fine, but the panic put me off smear tests for a while.

Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 16:56:53

Me too @Bezalelle sad

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Babyowl20 Tue 18-Feb-20 16:57:14

Glad everything turned out fine with yours.

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Babyowl20 Wed 19-Feb-20 21:42:44

I had a letter today with more details about the colposcopy appointment I’m having on Friday.. it mentioned they may take a biopsy and send it off before deciding on what treatment (if any) is needed. It says the results from this may take up to 4-6 weeks - so much longer than the smear results took! sadshock I’m finding this week editing difficult enough.. has anyone else had to wait that long for the results? Worried about how my mental health will fare sad

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marmite51 Wed 19-Feb-20 21:50:53

I've been through this process, and my results were always much quicker than the projected times. Those are very much worst case timings, and in my experience the reality was that once I was in the colposcopy system the appointments and results came quickly. They will do their very best to keep you informed. In my experience the gp was not any use for further info, those who see you on Friday will be the real experts.

Jo's trust forums have lots of people sharing advice and experiences. It was a great support to me.

Hope all goes well for you.

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