to expect my smear results to come back sooner?(23 Posts)
I have a smear at the beginning of September and just called the surgery to see if they were back yet - as problems with post and they usually get a copy first. Not back and it is likely to be at least THREE months.
It is a follow up smear after my last one showed changes, hopefully it'll all be fine but if not, three months seems an awfully long time to wait.
They are very busy at the moment because of the Jade Goody thing.
Just to give you a rough idea though, I had a smear in middle of August and only just got my results this weekend.
I'm sure my last one took about three months.
Mine took about 2 weeks. But I think they rushed it through cos I had to go in twice after they mis-labelled the first sample and they were embarrassed.
I really hope that if someone has a severe change and needs treatment then they will pick up the phone and call them... surely three months could make a big difference in how effective treatment is?
Surely the inital Jade Goody panic wave will have died down by now? When I had my one before it was about a month after it happened and the wait was only six weeks.
I've had lots of repeat smears due to cellular changes but on the occassion something seemed wrong they told me almost immediately. Every other time they've taken ages to come back. I would think that the fact they haven't said quickly means it's good news
My last one took about 8 weeks to get the result back. I think if you have a personal or familial history of cervical problems you'd be fast-tracked through cytology, but they mostly take around 2-3 months to get the results back in my experience.
That's reassuring Fib, that is what I was hoping the protocol would be! Hope you're all ok now, it's a real worry isn't it.
10 weeks here, (N hampshire) usually less apparently, we shall see.
Recently I was told to expect results in 6 weeks but they came through in 12 days.
It was a follow up from an abnormal smear resulting in colposcopy and biopsy though so maybe they rushed it through - especially considering I have had 2 miscarriages since the abnormal smear/colposcopy shenannigans.
Interestingly, from my abnormal smear, the wait I had was 6 months from abnormal smear to investigation.
Something somewhere is wrong with the whole system.
Oh, my latest smear was thankfully ok Hope all is well with yours.
Mine came through on saturday after 2 weeks, was told approx 3 weeks was average, but they were posted so maybe that is an issue? It must also depend on how busy they are in your place at any one time.
Three years ago they took over three months to come back, but apparently they do things differently now
Mine came through within a month (S London). 3 months is dreadful.
If your last smear was abnormal and showed any borderline changes or dyskaryosis, your smear should be prioritised over those who were just returning for routine smears... at least they were in the lab where I used to work.
I'd contact the person that took the smear (practice nurse etc.) and make sure that they are aware of your last smear result so this smear can be processed accordingly.
They were aware and I was told that it would be a priority yet the wait is still three months. Apparently I can't chase it, neither can GP as it is a PCT issue and I can't contact them direct.
Surely they will have the results already and it just be an inefficient paperwork system that causes delays?
prune I am glad you saw the better end of the system! I'm going to try and think positively that it is just because mine is fine that they aren't in a hurry to get my results back to me.
That seems an awful long wait. I was told 3-4 weeks, but got the result in 2.
The processing time will vary quite a bit between area, some places got their peak of work in (due to Jade) awhile after we did.
In the region where I work, the turnaround time varies from between 1 week to 12 weeks. Many labs have staff out on maternity leave, and the financial situation has meant that anyone whose left hasn't been replaced.
Many labs will prioritise your current test if the last one was abnormal. If your last test was low grade, if this one is borderline as well, then this sample would also have a 6 month repeat.
I disagree with what you've been told about your GP not being able to chase it, they can do so but it may well be that the PCT have asked primary care not to because of the amount of time that can then be spent in the lab looking for the odd slide.
The way the lab system works is that the slide is waiting to be looked at - we don't know what the result is until it's read, so they're all waiting the same time, if that makes sense. It's not like haematology analysers, where the samples are fed in, the result comes out and its waiting for someone to check it - with those, it is possible for the abnormal results to be flagged up quicker IYSWIM.
If your result was more abnormal this time, then obviously you'd be referred. Cervical abnormalities take many years to develop so it's unlikely to make a difference to treatment if you needed to have it.
MrsArchie we don't prioritise any cases because we're up to date, we found it actually took more to sort the samples out into routine and priority cases.
I do appreciate that its not ideal for you to wait this long, and its not easy for the screening staff seeing all the samples there in the lab, knowing that there's women out there waiting for their results but they take a certain amount of time to read and we have quality assurance to meet. We had about 3 months of work arrive in one month earlier in the year.
I think primary care have still been telling women it's quite a long wait even if their lab has caught up because they;d rather people were getting their result sooner than expected than later.
I hope you get your result soon and you're ok.
Cervical screening process:
Sample is taken and sent to the lab - this can take anywhere from 1 day to a week.
Sample is received by the lab. It is given a lab number and put through the processing machine, then staining machine to get the cells onto a slide. The stains are to highlight different cells and their contents to make it easier to read and makes the abnormal cells stand out more. Meanwhile the request form with all your details is booked into the lab computer system.
The slide is coverslipped to protect the cells and then has to dry (for at least 2 hours - think nail varnish).
The screener picks up a tray of slides, each slide can take between 5-25 minutes to read. One slide is from one woman's cervical sample (made from the vial you see the nurse putting the brush into).
The initial/primary screening or 'reading' is recorded, then the slide either goes to a senior BMS (if it's thought to be abnormal) or for a quality check. If it's negative then the result is recorded onto the system and is sent to the health authority computer system which generates the result letter.
The time from the primary reading, through quality check and results transfer can be anywhere from one day to one week, depending on how computerised all the systems are, as some places are still using post to send the results over to the health authority.
If the senior BMS thinks the sample is abnormal then it is sent to a consultant for reading. If the consultant works on other specialities then the sample may end up waiting for them to look at it - as they have cases such as people having surgery who need their biopsies looking at.
The consultant reads the sample, again it can take anything from 5 minutes to 45 minutes (some slides are really tricky to interpret) and then the result has to go onto the system etc, plus a referral to be made if necessary. If its really really tricky then I might show it to a consultant colleague which adds time on.
The result has to go onto the HA computer system and then they send the result letter. Some areas the GP practice still gets the results and then they send the result letter to you. All of this adds time on!
The slides are all read by people, using microscopes rather than being fed into a machine, so it's not a case of results being churned out the other end waiting for someone to deal with the paperwork.
Hope this gives you more idea of what is going on. The system isn't ideal by any means but improvements are being made so the service you get in the future will be much much better.
Thanks Bela, that is really interesting and a lot more complex than I thought!
I know it's not the fault of the lab staff, I am sure they don't enjoy the huge workload any more than I enjoy waiting for my results.
Fingers crossed they will be through soon.
Has anyone in the Glasgow area had their smear test results yet?
I had my smear test done on 22 March but haven't heard anything yet - coming up for four weeks now!
A friend of mine is a nurse at a GP surgery nearby and she said the lab told her there is currently a 4 week turnaround in our area ...
Just getting a bit anxious!
Would appreciate any feedback! Thanks.
They have probably had their results now considering this thread is SEVEN YEARS OLD.
Maybe try a new thread. In health or chat.
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