Cervical Screening and Treatment

The Cervical Screening Test

All women aged 25 to 74 years should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years (more often if you have an abnormal result) with their local doctor. The Cervical Screening Test takes a sample of cells from the cervix, which are used to look for infection from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Certain strains of the HPV virus are strongly related to cervical cancer, and almost all cases of cervical cancer result from HPV. The Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap smear in late 2017.

Women who have no symptoms of abnormal bleeding but test positive for an HPV strain will also have the cells of the cervix examined under a microscope.  If the cells look abnormal or the strain of HPV type is 16 or 18 (strains associated with cervical cancer), your local doctor will refer you to for a colposcopy. Dr Budden is a registered CQUIP member with extensive experience at the recognition and treatment of abnormal cervical screening test results.   He will ensure any questions you have are answered before any procedures are undertaken to ensure it is as comfortable as possible. 


A colposcopy involves looking directly at the cervix with a special microscope (called a colposcope) to look for abnormal areas.

To begin with, this involves an internal examination exactly the same as the Cervical Screening test, however it will take a few minutes longer.  To be able to see abnormal areas, we apply strong vinegar (acetic acid) and iodine to the cervix. These two chemicals will show any abnormal areas. Once they have been absorbed, we look down the colposcope at the entrance of the cervix as this is where the virus can cause abnormalities and where we see the pre-cancer starting. 

If we identify areas under the colposcope that do not appear normal, then we can take one or more biopsies. We send the biopsies then to a pathologist who examines them under a very high-powered microscope to look for any pre-cancer lesions. We do not recommend you make any treatment decisions based on a Cervical Screening Test result alone and all management should be guided by the results of the biopsy.

Further Treatment (LLETZ or Cone Biopsy)

If a pre-cancer lesion is identified at biopsy, we recommend removing a small area of the cervix, which includes all areas that looked abnormal under the colposcope.

Dr Budden will perform this procedure in the hospital operating theatre under general anaesthetic. The area of the cervix removed is small and most women will heal completely. The area removed is again sent to the pathologist for examination under the microscope to ensure all pre-cancer disease has been removed. Your next Cervical Screening test will then occur 12 months after this procedure.