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Abnormal smear results - referral to colposcopy clinic - need info please

(35 Posts)
Twiglett Mon 18-Jul-05 14:11:18

Hi guys

Loathe to google search cos have been in panic since saturday when I received a letter from nurse at GP's surgery saying they've received results of smear which 'unfortunately shows some abnormalities' and they've referred me to colposcopy clinic.

Unfortunately they enclosed a standard leaflet which in it talks about repeat smears and that referral to colposcopy clinic will be made on moderate or severe dyskaryosis

I can't see GP till this afternoon, but am a bit shaky .. if I do a google search I'll see the worst possible .. I need to know other people's experiences of this (good or bad) if possible

sorry if rambly and long ..

scared twig

Enid Mon 18-Jul-05 14:12:17

no experience

but lots of love x E

Thomcat Mon 18-Jul-05 14:13:52

Hi hon', don't have nay mass amount of info or anything but just wanted to say I know loads of girlies, myself inc, that this has happened to. I really wouldn't worry. I had 'abnormal cells' and had a colposcopy which was a harmless procedure and had regular smears to keep an eye on me and have been fine ever since, as have all my girlfriends this happened to.

Lots of love babes.
TC x

expatinscotland Mon 18-Jul-05 14:27:09

I've had a 'colpo' and a LEEP - loop electroexicion procudure. Back in 2001-2002.

I KNOW it's scary, but smear tests are VERY, VERY good at catching cervical cell abnormalities whilst they are still that: abnormalities.

I had 12 normal smears - in the US, smears are recommended every year for ANY sexually active woman no matter what her age and all women over 18 - before getting one with CIN II/moderate dysplasia.

I had the colpo performed with no anaesthetic. It's not commonly given there b/c all anaesthesia carries a risk factor. Instead, I was prescribed a moderate opiate painkiller to take an hour before the procedure and a tranquiliser. No driving if you take these medications!

It was not bad at all for me. Just felt like period pains.

The colpo will help them determine where the abnormal cells are. The cervix is painted w/a vinegar solution - painless - and then the practitioner can view the cervix w/the colposcope. If abnormalities show up she can then biopsy (take a sample) of all the areas affected to send to pathology. If she sees abnormalities in the endocervical canal - the opening in the cervix that dilates to allow a baby (or sperm) to pass thru, she may see if she can biopsy them or refer you on for a biopsy under heavier anaesthetic. That's called a 'cone biopsy'.

It's the cell sampling, the biopsy, that may cause some discomfort. But it's brief, I promise you!

Pathology results will indicate what - if any - further treatment you require. One - the least invasive - is called cryotherapy. In this procedure - don't know how it's done here as had mine in the States, you're again given oral medication beforehand - liquid nitrogen is swabbed on the cervix, so that the first few layers - and hopefully the abnormal cells - are sloughed off.

If the abnormalities appear to be deep and/or very localised, a LEEP can be prescribed. For this the cervix is injected w/a local anaesthetic - I won't lie, it does hurt, but it's not the end of the world and childbirth is worse. You can also ask for tranquilisers. Then, an excision is performed w/a device that's rather like an electricfied cheese grater - it can also be a laser.

If the abnormalities are discovered in the endocervical canal, a cone biopsy can be prescribed. For this you will need more anaesthesia - they're done under region block and IV sedation in the US. The canal is opened up and a laser removes the cells.

Nine times out of ten, the cryo, LEEP or cone biopsy WILL get rid of the abnormal cells. But you will need another smear 6 months later and smear tests annually after that.

I KNOW it's frightening. I've been there before! But I'm here to tell ya there is light at the end of the tunnel!

There are certain risk factors you can do to help yourself.

If you smoke, please STOP! Smoking IS a known risk factor in the development of cervical cell abnormalities.

CAT me if you feel very scared.

Good luck, hon!

Twiglett Mon 18-Jul-05 14:27:16

thanks enid and tc

its just that the leaflet seems to indicate that there's many reasons not to worry .. but most of them are then addressed with a repeat smear .. I don't have enough info from doctor to understand why I'm going to colposcopy clinic .. so brain going into overdrive

(quite put a dampner on our weekend away and we came back early this morning so I could get to see dr this pm)

expatinscotland Mon 18-Jul-05 14:29:22

Twigg - hugs, hon! It's gonna be alright. As ThomCat mentioned, LOTS of us have been through this.

Twiglett Mon 18-Jul-05 14:30:11

oo thanks expat .. exactly the kind of thing I was looking for ... info without scare-factors involved

I'm good with info and crap with an open abyss of incomplete knowledge

(have been looking at kids this weekend wondering how they'll cope without me .. how ridiculously macarbe is that??)

Twiglett Mon 18-Jul-05 14:31:32

one of the factors that is concerning me most is that whilst smear tests are supposed to be 3 years apart, its been 5 years between this one (with abnormalities) and last one (clear) and I'm feeling like a lot could have happened in those last 2 years ??

tamum Mon 18-Jul-05 14:39:15

Oh Twiglett, you poor thing. Try not to worry abotu the 5 years- even if it was cancer they can be very slow growing. I'll copy a bit from a reputable website that is quite reassuring when you think about risk numbers:

"Getting the news that your smear result is abnormal may cause a lot of anxiety, but you are not alone. About one in twelve smears are abnormal, which means in the UK 320,000 women each year will get an abnormal smear result."

They don't really know what the false positive rate is because the abnormal cells are removed by colposcopy. How long have you got to wait, do you know?

Chin up, sweetie.

Fran1 Mon 18-Jul-05 14:40:06

Hi just to reassure you,

I'm another one whos had the results like yours and had a colposcopy and ever since results have been fine.
I also know a few others who have all had the same. Don't know any horror stories.

You will be fine!

Lonelymum Mon 18-Jul-05 14:46:17

Twiglett, I really hope you get the reassurance you need very quickly. I can only imagine what you must be going through.

But thanks for the push I needed. I keep putting off my next smear test as I hate them, but then I read your last post and it made me realise, I am being silly to myself and possibly my children. Thank God you had a test and now the medical profession can act on your results and keep you safe for your children. Take comfort from these other positive stories.

expatinscotland Mon 18-Jul-05 14:46:55

Tamum is right, these cells are usually very slow-growing. I FREAKED when I found out about my CINII, but a nurse friend set me straight.

So don't worry if you have to wait a few weeks before colpo and/or for lab results. Even tho it is frustrating and frightening.

And smears are really the best way of catching the rebel cells out.

Some women find after the colpo that they don't need any treatment at all aside from a repeat smear in 6 months time.

In my case, I was asked at the time of colpo if my cell biopsy could be used in a study of HPV (human papilloma virus), as researchers are trying to develop a vaccine. I agreed wholeheartedly. I was found to have HPV strains 30 and 45.

But if I had not been part of the study, I would not have found this out. It doesn't really matter at any rate, as most cervical cell abnormalities are caused by HPV, which is extraordinarily common.

I have since had normal paps!

Keep us posted!

BarefootMama Mon 18-Jul-05 14:47:56

Twig, just looked on cancer research help page and it said colposcopy was advised in MILD cases.
I dont know if this helps- i do hope your gp puts your mind at rest today.

I had a colposcopy when i was 19 to check for pre-cancerous cells although i had not had an abnormal smear. I was very scared and the mention of concer worried me sick but it was fine. Tbh i felt really good afterwards like it had left no stone unturned. Please try not to worry. Thinking of you.

katierocket Mon 18-Jul-05 14:48:57

friend of mine had this and all was fine. I've not had this but GP did find a cyst on my cervix at 6 week postpartum check up and that was all very scary so I know what you mean about mind going overdrive (it turned out to be nothing). when are you seeing GP?

motherinferior Mon 18-Jul-05 14:51:00

Huge hugs, my love

ks Mon 18-Jul-05 14:51:00

Message withdrawn

littlerach Mon 18-Jul-05 14:53:31

Same happened to my sister, it was allfine, they do more regular checks on her at the moment.
We live in an area that leaves 5 years between smears, and have had to fight to get extra checks done. (there is a history of cervical cancer in family)

Thomcat Mon 18-Jul-05 15:21:24

I was always rubbish at having regular smear tests as well Twiggs, and then had 1 bad result after another and burid my head in the sand before i had another smear and got the colposcopy organised. I really, really, REALLY wouldn't worry sweatheart, bless yiuy, and I know that's easier said then done, but I bet 7 out of 10 women have abnormal cells at some stage. It all just sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, honest.

Big, big loves to my 'shaky' friend, but I know you'll be fine hon.

Dophus Mon 18-Jul-05 15:28:28

I had this - nothing to worry about. It's a little uncomfortable that's all. It's also a great opportunity to see your cervix!

Prufrock Mon 18-Jul-05 15:35:53

Twig - hope the doctor is able to provide calming info. In the meantime, do you want me to google and vet results for you?

bakedpotato Mon 18-Jul-05 15:38:11

I like your take on it, Dolphus!

Me too, dodged smears forever, then CINIII, colposcopy (a bit uncomfy, but not that much worse than a smear really), cone biopsy (the idea of which was more awful than the reality), clear annual smears since then. I like the fact they keep an eye on me: feel woozy with gratitude that the screening prog is around to catch those 'rebel cells'.

Eugenious Mon 18-Jul-05 15:55:44

I can tell you there's nothing to a colposcopy anyway.

Good luck

cat82 Mon 18-Jul-05 17:00:53


I had a loop dyomthermy after an abnormal smear, so i just wanted to resuure you. I was terrifed of the words "abnormal smear" and was sooo scared of the procedure. It is uncomforatble but dp was with me and reassured me all the time, and after it was over i felt absolutly fine. Just had mild discomfort for the rest of the day. I had then had to have smears every 6 months for a few years but, so far i've been absolutly fine.
I believe i had stage two dyskaryosis.

That was about 4 years ago now.

Hope all goes well for you hon, best of luck. It'll be fine!

ks Mon 18-Jul-05 17:29:27

Message withdrawn

Twiglett Mon 18-Jul-05 19:46:58

Thanks for all your help

it seems I have moderate dyskariosis but having read your posts and spoken to doctor am feeling better about it so thank you

oh and if you're prevaricating about having a smear .. Please go have one .. it could save your life

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