Your cervical screening results are usually sent to you in a letter. Sometimes you may be asked to call your GP to get the results.
When your results should arrive
You should get your results within 14 days. But they can take longer to arrive.
If you have waited longer than you expected, call your GP surgery to see if they have any updates.
Try not to worry if your results are taking a long time to get to you.
It does not mean anything is wrong, and most people will have a normal result.
What your results mean
Your results letter will explain what was tested for and what your results mean.
Most people will have a normal result. This means you do not need any further tests and you'll be invited for screening again in 3 or 5 years.
Sometimes you'll be asked to come back in 3 months to have the test again. This does not mean there's anything wrong – it's because the results were unclear.
If you have an abnormal result
Your results letter should explain what will happen next.
You may need:
- no treatment
- another cervical screening test in 1 year
- a different test to look at your cervix (colposcopy)
There are different kinds of abnormal result depending on if your sample was tested for:
- abnormal cell changes in your cervix – left untreated, this could turn into cancer
- HPV – some types of HPV can lead to cell changes in your cervix and cancer
HPV is a common virus and most people will get it in their life. You can get it through any kind of sexual contact.
Having a positive HPV result does not mean your partner has had sex with someone else.
You might have HPV even if you have not been sexually active or had a new partner for many years.
If you need a colposcopy
A colposcopy is a simple procedure to look at your cervix.
It's similar to having cervical screening, but it's carried out in hospital.
You might need one if your results show changes to the cells of your cervix.
Try not to worry if you have been referred for a colposcopy.
Any changes to your cells will not get worse while you're waiting for your appointment.