Abnormal Cervical Screen CST
HOW IS CERVICAL CANCER SCREENED IN AUSTRALIA?
As of 1 December 2017, cervical cancer is screened in Australian women aged between 25 and 75 through a 5 yearly HPV screening (Human Papilloma Virus – also commonly known as wart virus).
This replaces the previous 2 yearly pap smear
screening program. The process of obtaining a swab from the cervix using a vaginal speculum is still the same as previously.
WHAT IF I HAVE ABNORMAL CERVICAL SCREENING TEST RESULTS?
If HPV (wart virus) is detected, the result is considered abnormal.
The sample is then sent for testing for presence of abnormal cervical cells. This may be normal, low grade or high grade dysplasia (pre-cancerous). You are then recommended to have a colposcopy.
It is important to know that most of these abnormal results does not mean cancer, but more likely to be pre-cancerous.
WHAT IS A COLPOSCOPY?
A colposcopy is a detailed examination of the cervix and vagina using a magnification camera (colposcope). Acetic acid solution is applied to the cervix to help identify abnormal changes in the cervix.
A biopsy of the cervix may be taken to confirm the diagnosis of the abnormal cervical cells.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR HIGH GRADE DYSPLASIA (PRE-CANCEROUS CELLS) OF CERVIX?
Treatment is recommended by a gynaecologist if high grade dysplasia (CIN 2-3) is confirmed on biopsy of cervix to avoid further progression to cancer. Options are laser ablation of the cervix or LLETZ (large loop excision of transformation zone).
In laser ablation to cervix, a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser beam is used to destroy (vaporize) abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen through a colposcope.
In LLETZ, a thin loop of wire that carries electrical current is used like a scalpel to cut the transformation zone of the cervix (where abnormal cells exist)