Pap Tests & HPV Screening

Cervical screenings can help to save lives and regular testing is the only way to detect abnormalities before they could become more serious.

What are the advantages of going private for a smear test with BMI Healthcare?

  • Speed of access to smear tests- with appointments usually available within 48 hours, giving you fast results.
  • If HPV is detected or further investigation is required, you will have fast access to a consultant gynaecologist who can perform a colposcopy if required.
  • You can self-refer which means you can arrange your appointment without the need for a referral from your GP.
  • The NHS cervical screening programme offers screening every three years to women aged 25-49, and every five years to women aged 50-64. If you fall outside these age categories, or would like more regular screening, you can do so at BMI Healthcare.

We have specialist clinics managed by consultant gynaecologists and nurses, within our network of hospitals across the UK. To find out where your nearest location is, and to book your smear test, just get in touch. 

Why get a smear test?

Each year, five million women in the UK are invited to attend a smear test. In fact, screenings are responsible for saving 5000 lives a year1, so it’s really worth checking the heath of your cervix regularly.

In most cases, abnormal cells are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Having a smear test can detect abnormal cells in the cervix and can also identify abnormalities at an early stage. If abnormal cells are detected, you will have the option to have them removed before they can become cancerous.

There are over 100 different types of HPV. If your sample shows any abnormalities, then the testing for HPV types will be carried out on the same sample.

Smear testing for Under 25s

If you are under the age of 25, your chance of developing cervical cancer is unlikely2. Women under 25 won’t be invited to have a cervical screening test under the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

Only 2 out of 100 women under 25 are diagnosed with cervical cancer a year2. However, if you’re worried or concerned, there is always the option of having a private smear test with us. The minimum age for a smear test is 18.

Although it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious before your smear test, there really is no need. The test will be over before you know it. The benefits of having a smear test really do outweigh a few minutes of slight discomfort.

To help you feel as prepared as possible, here are some important things to remember ahead of your cervical screening test.

  • Do not have sexual intercourse for 24 hours before
  • Try to have your appointment during the middle of your menstrual cycle (usually 14 days from the start of your last period). This can help to produce a better sample of cells
  • Do not use tampons for at least two days before
  • If you’ve been treated for an infection, for example with vaginal pessaries, you should push your screening back for at least a week after finishing treatment
  • If you’re feeling nervous, do let your healthcare professional know
  • Make sure to relax as this will help to limit any discomfort you may feel.

You can bring a family member or friend with you for support.

Cervical screenings are very quick and only take three minutes to carry out.

Before you have your smear test, you’ll be asked to remove your clothes from the waist down. You’ll then need to lie down and your healthcare professional will place a paper sheet over the lower half of your body.

They will then insert a plastic or metal instrument into your vagina to open the inside, which will make the cervix easy to see. A brush will be used to take a sample of your cervical cells. Your sample will be immersed in a preservative liquid and sent off for analysis to be examined under a microscope.

You may feel slightly uncomfortable when having your smear test, however staying relaxed can help to reduce any discomfort you may feel.

If you’re attending your first screening, it’s always a good idea to bring along a family member or a friend who may help you feel more at ease.

Cervical screenings are very quick and only take three minutes to carry out.

By having a private smear test at BMI Healthcare, you’ll receive your results back quickly, usually within a week. If your test comes back clear with no abnormalities found, you’ll receive a confirmation letter to confirm the result.

Receiving an abnormal result by no means suggests that cancer is present.. If your result comes back as abnormal you will receive a letter from the hospital to make another appointment. Most cells will return to normal without needing treatment. If you do need further treatment, the most important thing is that any abnormalities have been detected early.

Receiving an abnormal result by no means suggests that cancer is present.

If your result comes back as abnormal you will receive a letter from the hospital to make another appointment. Most cells will return to normal without needing treatment.

If you do need further treatment, the most important thing is that any abnormalities have been detected early.

How much does a smear test cost?

The cost of a smear test starts at £102. However it’s important to be aware that prices can vary between hospitals based on which healthcare professional performs the smear test, and based on the specific circumstances of the individual patient.

If you decide to have a smear test, you can refer yourself and pay directly for the test without needing private medical insurance, which doesn’t tend to cover screening tests.

Sources

1 https://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/cervical-screening-smear-test-and-abnormal-cells
2 https://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/cervical-screening-smear-test-and-abnormal-cells/cervical-screening-under25

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