Below are some of the common questions that we have been asked by women who are worried in regard to recent concerns about Cervical Cancer and smear tests.

This message is directed primarily towards woman who have attended the Rotunda Hospital Colposcopy Clinic for investigation and/or treatment of an abnormal smear.

A colposcopy is a simple examination that is carried out in the same way as a smear test. A doctor or nurse will look at your cervix (neck of the womb) using a type of microscope called a colposcope. During the examination, a liquid or dye may be applied to the cervix to help identify any changes to the cells and to decide if any treatment is needed.

The vast majority of women screened as part of the national cervical screening programme will only require a smear test. A small minority (2-5%) of all women screened will require further investigation or treatment at a dedicated colposcopy clinic.

If you are worried about a smear result but have not attended the Rotunda Colposcopy Clinic, please call the CervicalCheck Helpline 1800 45 45 55 or go to www.cervicalcheck.ie


I have had a treatment for an abnormal smear. Do I need to worry?

We wish to reassure women who have been referred to our clinic with an abnormal smear. The treatment of women who have been referred to colposcopy clinics with abnormal smears has not been called into question and you can be reassured that we have met all the Quality Assurance standards expected of us.

Should I be worried about the smears that were done since I have had my treatment?

If you have had treatment for an abnormal smear and are currently under the care of the Rotunda Hospital, you do not need to worry about false negative smears or undiagnosed cancer. The smears that are done after your treatment are processed in Dublin and in recent years always include a HPV test in the 6 and 18 month smears following treatment. Women who have an abnormal smear or HPV test following a treatment (LLETZ or Cold Coagulation) are always called back to the clinic and have a repeat colposcopy examination with a biopsy if indicated.

I was referred with an abnormal smear but did not need treatment. 

Women referred with high grade smears are invariably treated. If a woman has a low grade smears and the colposcopy and biopsy confirm a mild abnormality (CIN1), we do not treat. We wait for 12 months and then repeat the smear and HPV test. We do this because the chances of developing invasive cancer within one year is extremely low in women with CIN1. Furthermore, this mild abnormality will disappear in a significant number of cases over the 12 months. This strategy allows us to avoid unnecessary treatments in young women. We know that there is a risk of preterm labour in a small number of women following LLETZ, so we try to avoid this treatment unless it is essential.

I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. How do I know that I am not one of those who had a false negative smear years before I was referred to the Rotunda?

We have personally spoken to all women with a diagnosis of cervical cancer who were found to have a false negative smear in the years before their referral to the Rotunda Hospital. If you did not receive a personal phone call on 30th April or 1st May, you can be reassured that your name was not on the list supplied to us by the HSE.

Should I go to my GP and ask for a repeat smear test?

If you have been treated by LLETZ or Cold Coagulation in the last 2 years, you have no cause for concern as your Test of Cure smears will have included an HPV test.  If both of your Test of Cure smears were negative, you will have been discharged back to your GP for a smear in three years.  Women who have been treated more than two years ago were instructed to have a smear every year for 10 years. This strategy reduces significantly the chances of a false negative smear being missed.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Sandra murphy says:

    Did the rotunda laboratory analysis smear tests in the period from 2005 to 2008