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cervical cancer?

17 May 2017 18:49

Hi I'm just after a bit of advice/reassurance maybe, I don't really know...but will be grateful for any reply:)

I had a smear 18 months the ago which was all fine...since then I have had lots of irregular bleeding, back pain etc...saw doctor yesterday who told me that my cervix is very inflamed and covered in cells that need looking at more closely so I have been referred to gynaecology.

My question is, would somebody be able to see these cells with the naked eye of they were harmless or pre-cancerous as opposed to definately  cancerous?because I hear of lots of people who find out they have pre-cancerous or cancerous cells after having a smear test but this wasn't a smear test, just a doctor and a speculum. I am 29 years old and have 3 children. 

Thanks x


Re: cervical cancer?

19 May 2017 12:05 in response to Rachel928

Hi Rachel928

Thanks for posting. I am sorry to read you are worried about your health.

There are many reasons for the cause of irregular bleeding and you might find it useful to read some of the explanations on the NHS Choices website here.

Your doctor has referred you to the colposcopy unit. Although the link I have given is smear orientated people are often referred for other reasons too, it just gives you an idea of what they will do at the unit. In the colposcopy unit there is a team of specially trained nurses and doctors who will have a more detailed look at your cervix. The nurse or doctor will not have been able to see cells with the naked eye. They would need to use an instrument like a magnifying glass called a colposcope. To understand what could be causing the inflammation they may take a sample (biopsy) of tissue from your cervix and send this away to the laboratory. This is where they would be able to examine and identify the cells.

You mentioned about cervical smear results. Mostly they refer to abnormal cervical cells that have been picked up, these are not cancerous cells. Dependent on the degree of abnormality of the cervical cells, sometimes the decision is for them to be left untreated as their own immune system will clear them up. In some instances women are required to have treatment to get rid of abnormal cervical cells. Usually it would take abnormal cells if left untreated over a long period of time (10 years or longer, but in rare cases can be sooner) to develop into an invasive cancer in a small number of women. We have a section on treating abnormal cells here which you may find useful to read. 

I can understand this being a stressful time not knowing what the problem is. I think your mind can run away with you and you automatically worry you have cancer. The majority of times when people attend these appointments cancer is not the cause, and it could be for some other non-cancerous (benign) condition. My advice is to keep yourself busy (which I am sure you are with three children) until your appointment as they will be the only ones to tell you what is going on.

I hope this has been useful. If you would like to speak to a nurse please give us a call on 0808 800 4040. We are here from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Best wishes,