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Cervical Screening

At DF Medical Centre, the cervical screening is performed not by a nurse, but by a doctor with many years’ experience in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Besides brushing your cervix to collect the sample, you will have the vulva, vagina and cervix assessed by a specialist and may have a bimanual examination of your womb and ovaries if your history warrants, possible a referral for a Transvaginal Ultrasound on site.

A cervical screening test is a free test to check the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina.

It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to see if you are currently at risk of developing cancer.

Screening first looks to see if you have any of the high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer.

If HPV is found, your same test sample will be checked to see if you have any abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells in your cervix.

This is a new way of screening. It is called HPV cervical screening. It was introduced in Ireland in March 2020.

Key things to know about cervical screening:

  • It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to see if you are currently at risk of developing cancer.
  • All women or people with a cervix aged 25 to 65 should be invited for regular free screening by letter.
  • During the screening test, a small sample of cells is taken from your cervix.
  • The sample is tested for HPV.
  • HPV can cause abnormal cell changes in the cervix.
  • HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer.
  • If your sample tests positive for HPV, we will check for abnormal cells.
  • Abnormal cell changes are sometimes called pre-cancerous cells.
  • In most cases, it takes 10 to 15 years for cells in the cervix to go from normal to pre-cancer to cancer.
  • Finding HPV or abnormal cells early means you can be monitored or treated so that any abnormal cells do not turn into cervical cancer.
  • You’ll get your results by letter, usually about 4 to 6 weeks after your screening test.


Do not delay having a cervical screening test when it's due. It's one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

How the new HPV cervical screening works

The new HPV cervical screening test looks for HPV first.

If HPV is found, your same test sample is checked for abnormal cells. If abnormal cells are found, you will have a colposcopy and treatment.

If HPV is not found, we do not need to check for abnormal cells. This is because your risk of developing cervical cancer is very low if you do not have HPV.

HPV cervical screening is the best way to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. A test showing that you do not have HPV is more reliable than a test that finds you have normal cells.

If we find a HPV infection, we can monitor it and offer you treatment if there are any changes to cells in your cervix.

Cervical screening limitations


Cervical screening limitations

No screening test is perfect. Some people will still develop cervical cancer despite regular screening.

If 1,000 people are screened, about 20 people will have abnormal cells.

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