After Your Treatment
It is extremely important that you attend your follow up appointment as advised by your local service. Six months after your treatment you will be called back to have a repeat cervical screening test – this will usually be done at your GP surgery. Between 5-10% of women continue to have cervical abnormalities after treatment. Occasionally second and third treatments are required. It is highly important that you attend treatment if further treatment is advised.
Test of Cure
These follow up tests help to identify if the treatment has been successful, the abnormal cervical cells have been removed and the area is now normal.
It will test for high risk HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. Test of cure will only be given to women who have undergone treatment for cervical abnormalities. The test is used in combination with cervical screening cytology (looking at how the cells look under the microscope). Test of cure is done if the abnormality treated was CIN rather than CGIN.
If HPV is not found and your screening test comes back negative (that means the cells appear normal under the microscope), then you have been successfully treated by removing the abnormal cells and you will be returned to your regular screening schedules. You do not need to have another cervical screening test for three or five years depending on your age or upon your country’s screening programme. The HPV test helps to confirm that there is no longer a higher than average risk of developing further cervical abnormalities.
If HPV infection is found (HPV positive) or the screening test shows an abnormality you will again be referred to colposcopy for further investigation. If this happens please try not to be alarmed, it is better to get things checked out. Occasionally cervical abnormalities are not all removed at the first treatment. This is because the treatment is a balance between removing all the abnormal cells, without removing too much normal cervix. Put simply - it is always easier to take a bit more away in the future, than it is too stick a bit back on! If there are still abnormal cells left at follow up, then a further treatment can be done. Using both a cervical screening test and HPV test this provides a more effective way of assessing the success of treatment than a cervical screening test on its own. Many women who come back to the colposcopy clinic do not need further treatment.
There is also a small chance that cervical abnormalities may come back in the future. It is therefore really important to keep going for your cervical screening when invited, so that you can have further treatment if necessary.
Remember if you have been found positive for abnormal cervical cells this is unlikely to be cervical cancer. Treatment for abnormal cervical cells is usually very effective and it is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing.
"After Your Treatment." Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. N.p., 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.