Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Irish women under 44, with over 90 lives lost to the disease every year. Cervical cancer takes a long time to develop and often has no signs or symptoms.
The good news is that we know how to prevent it. Regular smear tests ensure that any abnormal cells in the neck of the womb (cervix) are found and treated early, preventing the development of cervical cancer.
You do not need to pay for a test, it’s free. The IFPA is a registered smear taker with CervicalCheck, the National Cervical Screening Programme, and offers free smear tests to women aged 25 to 60 at our two Dublin clinics.
A smear test is very simple and is performed by a trained doctor or nurse. The test takes less than 5 minutes and sample is then sent to a laboratory.
You will receive the results of your test within four weeks. Most smear test results are normal. If the test shows abnormalities you will be referred to a specialist clinic. If you have any questions about your results you can talk to your doctor or nurse. All followup tests are also free of charge.
If the abnormalities are low grade, a HPV test is automatically carried out on the sample. If the HPV test is positive for high risk HPV, you will be referred to a specialist clinic for further investigation. If the HPV test is negative for high risk HPV, you will be advised to have a repeat smear test in 3-5 years, depending on your age.
If the abnormalities are classified as high grade, you will be referred to a specialist clinic for further investigation.
Please remember that a smear test is for cervical screening only and cannot detect all gynaecological cancer. A negative smear test result does not mean that you should ignore any other symptoms. If you experience any unusual signs or symptoms after your smear test, please visit your doctor.
If you don’t live in the Dublin area, see www.cervicalcheck.ie for a full list of registered smear takers.