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Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

21 Sep 2017 14:00 in response to bex2017

Hello Bex,

You are right, low grade dyskariosis means there is only a slight change in the cells. It doesn’t mean you have cancer.

There are lots of different types of HPV. Some are called low risk and some are called high risk. The NHS screening programme tests for high risks types, but don’t be fazed by this. Let me explain a bit more about HPV. 

HPV is a very common infection which a lot of sexually active people pick up. Some types (low risk) are linked to warts and other types (high risk) HPV are linked to cell changes in the cervix. Most people who pick up high risk HPV come to no harm as their bodies clear the infection within a few months to a few years. When the HPV clears, the cervical cell changes go back to normal. If the HPV persists in the cervix, and abnormal cells develop and persist, then there is the chance they could develop into cancer over time. Usually this takes years and years. 

In the cervical screening programme if a woman has low grade changes like you do and HPV as well, the next step is a colposcopy assessment. I assume that this is what your  appointment is for. A colposcopy is when the cervix is examined under strong magnification and any abnormal areas can be seen and a biopsy can be taken if needed. If the biopsy shows high grade changes in cells they are usually treated (removed or destroyed). Low grade changes in cells can be monitored (repeat smear in 1 year) to see if they go back to normal. Remember cervical screening is all about prevention.

Do read what my colleagues have said on this post as well, but try not to worry.

If you would like a chat give us a call on 0808 800 4040, we are here from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

All the best,


Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

22 Sep 2017 10:19 in response to CRUK Nurse Julia
Hi Julia thanx so much for your reply this has put my mind to ease a little. yes my appointment is for colposcopy and its on the 9.10.17. which im a little nervous for. is ther any questions i should be asking at my appointment, also will they tell me what they see on the screen? thanks again Bex.

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

22 Sep 2017 17:17 in response to bex2017

Hello Bex and thank you for getting back to us.

It is understandable to feel a little nervous before any intimate medical examination. For this reason colposcopy clinics usually encourage women to bring someone with them for company and support. It is often hard to remember everything you have been told after an examination, so having someone else there is useful as they are more likely to remember what was said.

Before the colposcopy examination the procedure will be explained to you. The screen shows the cervix and it is usually possible for you to watch it while the colposcopist explains what they are doing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at any time.

When the examination is finished the colposcopist will go over what they found. If a biopsy was taken they will advise you as to when you can expect the results. I would also ask for the contact details of who to contact if the results do not come in the time expected. Many colposcopy teams have a nurse specialist who give women information and support, and they are the person you will most likely be given the contact details for.

If a biopsy has been taken there is a small risk of bleeding or infection and you will be advised what to look out for and who to contact. This is usually your GP but if you are in any doubt you can contact the nurse specialist who can advise you.

I hope this is helpful and that things go well for you.

With kind regards,



Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

26 Sep 2017 14:03 in response to ShellBell

Hi in elli, I had acc of the tounge and had surgery part of my tounge removed n my lympnodes taken out on April 11 this 8tr and up 2 now I bin clear. I've just got my smear results and it's says low hpv positive and I'm a bit worried x

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

26 Sep 2017 14:59 in response to Elli

Hi I'm elli i had scc ov the tounge and had surgery part of my tounge removed n my lympnodes taken out on April this year have bin clear I've just had my smear result bk and it *** no hpv positive and low grade dyskaryosis now I'm worried 

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

26 Sep 2017 21:00 in response to Elli

Hi Elli and welcome to the forum.

I noticed you're a tad worried about the results from your smear so I just wanted to give you our cancer nurses telephone number in case you wanted to discuss the results with someone in more detail. Their freephone number is 0808 800 4040 and they are available Monday - Friday between 9a.m - 5p.m.

I hope this helps and you feel less worried soon.

All the best, 

Steph, Cancer Chat Moderator

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

27 Sep 2017 10:16 in response to Elli

Hello Elli and thanks for posting,

The screening programme is designed to prevent cervical cancer. It does this by detecting cell changes that could one day develop into cancer (not all cell changes will and if they do it takes a long time). In the NHS, when low grade cell changes (dyskariosis) are seen, they test for HPV and if positive the next step is to take a closer look at the cervix under magnification (colposcopy). Depending on what this shows, (a biopsy may be needed as well), abnormal cells can either be treated to prevent cancer from developing in the future or they can be monitored until they go back to normal. But you have probably read our previous posts on this thread and already got the gist of how screening works.

Most women worry when they have an abnormal smear. I can appreciate that having been treated for mouth cancer, this may well trigger memories of earlier in the year and leave you feeling even more unsettled. Try and hold your nerve. Cervical screening is very successful so as long as you go along for your appointment and follow the advice given everything should be okay.

As Steph mentioned feel free to give us a call for a chat. Our number is 0808 800 4040 and we are here from Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.

Take care,


Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

28 Sep 2017 10:42 in response to CRUK Nurse Julia

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and find it very informative. I have tried to give a call to the freephone but the line was busy, so I decided to post on this forum. Early this month, I received an abnormal result (low grade dyskaryosis) from my very first smear test screening with HPV positive. Following up from the result letter, I received another referral letter for colposcopy appointment; however the appointment won't be until mid of November 2017. I have called my GP and she said there's nothing to worry about even though the next appointment will be in few months after receiving my smear test result. I have also called the colposcopy department at the referred hospital and they confirmed me there are no earlier dates available than mid November. Yet, I am still feeling anxious whether I should go for the colposcopy earlier than November? Will there be any differences if I have the procedure now than in November? So far I do not have any complaints and feel normal as there are no vaginal discharges, bleedings or any pains. Any advice that can be provided to me to calm down my anxiety? 

Thank you.


Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

28 Sep 2017 15:41 in response to giegie

Hello Giegie,

Thank you for posting a question.  I am sorry to learn that you have has an abnormal smear test result.

It is not unusual for women to worry when the have an abnormal cervical screening (smear test) result, but this is not usually anything to be overly worried about. The aim of cervical screening is to pick up abnormal cells which if left untreated for many years (usually over 10) might change and develop into cervical cancer.  Monitoring or treating the abnormal cells can stop cervical cancer from developing.

It is not unusual for women with low grade cell changes to wait before they have a colposcopy appointment. Had the cells been more abnormal (high grade) you would be  seen sooner. Although this waiting is never easy it  is unlikely to cause you any harm.  In fact  in some UK  countries women with low grade cervical cell changes  don’t go to colposcopy right away, they are asked to have another smear in 6 months’ time.  I mention this to try to reassure you that a few months is not likely to be crucial. But of course this is not something that can be left for ever and ignored.

Recently in England there have been some changes and women with low grade cervical cell abnormalities have HPV  testing. This is because when certain types of HPV are present (known as high risk HPV)  the cells are less likely to get better on their own.  They might also become more abnormal. So rather than getting everyone with mildly abnormal cell changes to have a repeat smear, in England those who have HPV are seen at colposcopy and women without it are returned to routine screening.

So although it is easier said than done try not to worry because if you lived in another UK country you might not be going to colposcopy at this stage. 

I hope that this helps. If you have any other questions you are welcome to get back to us. If you would like to telephone do try again. Although from time to time our lines can be busy it is often relatively easy to get through. Sometimes but not always mid afternoon can be a good time to try.

All the best



Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

30 Sep 2017 21:47 in response to CRUK Nurse Jean

Hello Nurse Jean,

Thank you very much for your response. Your explanation indeed has helped me to understand a lot more now. I feel much better to receive a second opinion. 

Many thanks!

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

15 Oct 2017 20:49 in response to CRUK Nurse Jean


i have recently had the same letter from my smear test, low grade dyskaryosis and positive for HPV. 

I have discussed this this with my partner and we’ve done a little research (this thread has been particularly helpful and relieving to read thank you) 

but we were wondering... as I have it, and my long term partner could already have it, we are aware it can clear up itself, but do we need to start using protection again until it has? We were worried about whether re-infection is possible? 

Also, we were planning on trying for a family in a year or so, does this diagnosis mean we need to wait till I get the all clear? Or can it affect my fertility in the long run? 

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

19 Oct 2017 14:52 in response to Natatak

Hello Natatak,

Thank you for posting on Cancer Chat.

The current evidence about HPV is that once you have been infected with it many people become immune to that specific type and so reinfection should not occur but this may not happen for everyone.  Protecting yourself during sex might help reduce the risk of reinfection but there is no guarantee that it can.  This is because HPV is spread by skin to skin contact and a condom cannot provide this level of cover.

The best thing to do reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer is not to smoke as this can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.  Also going for you cervical screening when you are invited is important in greatly reducing your risk of cervical cancer.  The NHS Cervical Screening Programme is designed to identify women who are at risk of developing cervical abnormalities, treating them if needed and then following these women up to ensure that there are no more abnormalities and greatly reducing the risk of cancer happening.

According to the UK charity Jo’s Trust recent evidence shows that having the HPV vaccine, even after you have had an infection with HPV, offers women protection from both infection with other HPV types and reinfection by the same type in the future. However, the vaccine is only available on the NHS for free until the age of 18.

HPV does not cause infertilety itself.  However for the small amount of women who get recurrent abnormal cells and need to have repeated areas of the cervix treated  (removal of cells on the cervix) this may affect the competency of the cervix to support the baby.  But this does not happen to the vast majority of women who have needed to have treatment on their cervix. Having said that if this was a risk there are procedures that can be done to help women have a baby safely.   Do speak with the colposcopy team about this when you go for your appointment to get some reassurance.

I hope this has been helpful.


Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

24 Oct 2017 15:31 in response to CRUK Nurse Caroline
Hi Natatak I just wanted to reassure you a bit as you mentioned wanting a family. I had 5 consecutive years of positive smear tests in my 20s where through colonoscopy I had the abnormal cells removed by laser treatment. My cervix as a result lost its elasticity and could not fully dilate so I have had 3 C sections. I did however carry 3 boys without needing additional help. X

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

16 Dec 2017 10:42 in response to Angela17

Hi All,


just to let you know, I am one more, having low grade dyskaryosis & HPV infection Happy Having an appointment mid Jan with NHS. I was planning to see a private doctor by that time, but as the nurses kindly said, there is going to be no harm for a few months time.

I'm sure we'll get through this ladies!

Just a bit worried as my mom and both my grandmothers were diagnosed with breast cancer so I am in the high risk team, I assume!


Have a great day!

Re: Low grade dyskaryosis

18 Dec 2017 15:56 in response to demy_z

Hi Demy_z

I saw your supportive post in response to the low grade dyskaryosis thread on our forum and I wanted to mention about your risk.

I see you are worried that your mom and grandmother’s diagnosis of breast cancer may put you in a ‘high risk team’.

I just wanted to say that it is very unlikely that your mom and grandmother’s diagnosis of breast cancer would increase your risk of developing cervical cancer. What we know is that to increase someone’s risk of developing cervical cancer, you would need to have had a mother, sister or daughter who have had cervical cancer. The evidence is not clear if this increased risk  is related to faulty genes or common lifestyle factors, for example smoking. You can read about risks and causes of cervical cancer here.

I think it is also important to know that having low grade dyskaryosis and HPV infection is not cancer. I don’t know how much you have read from the forum threads, but abnormal cervical cell changes occur usually because of a virus called HPV (human papillomavirus). There are more than 100 different strains of HPV. Some are classed as low risk HPV.  Low risk HPV can sometimes cause symptoms for example warts. Then there are the high-risk strains which have no symptoms. These are the ones known to cause cervical cell changes which if left untreated for many years might develop into cervical cancer.  

I assume your appointment in January is a colposcopy appointment. This is where they will have more detailed look at your cervix with a large magnifying glass (colposcope). They often use a solution called ascetic acid. This is a weak vinegar like solution that turns abnormal cells white. As you have tested positive to the HPV, if abnormal cells are found, you might require some form of treatment to remove them. There are several ways in which this can be done but you can read about the different types of treatment here. NHS choices also explains some of the treatment options. 

Although this is not related to your smear, I just wanted to mention that you may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer due to your family history. You can read more about his here. You could speak with GP about this and they could assess your risk.

Thank you again for being so supportive on the forum.  And I hope this has been helpful and reassuring.

Best wishes