What is a cervical screening test?
A cervical screening test can show whether there have been any changes in the lower part of your uterus, which is called the cervix. The cervix is located at the top of the inside of the vagina.
If something has changed, it is often not something dangerous that you need to worry about, and it will most likely heal on its own. However, it could be a sign of cancer, even before the cancer has developed. If that is the case, you will need treatment.
The sample is taken from the lower part of the uterus, which is called the cervix.
Why will I be called in for a cervical screening test?
All women in Sweden over the age of 23 are called in for a cervical screening test about every three years. You will receive a personal invitation to come in for an examination. The invitation will list the time and place of the examination.
You can reschedule the appointment if the one you have been given does not fit your schedule. You can also contact the healthcare centre to schedule an appointment. It is your own decision whether you want to have a cervical screening test, but it is a good idea to do it.
A cervical screening test does not involve any risks
The cervical screening test is performed by a doctor or midwife (a specialised nurse). Both are specially trained to work with the female reproductive system. There are no risks associated with having a cervical screening test.
All staff have a duty to maintain patient confidentiality. This means that the staff are not allowed to tell people outside of the healthcare system anything about you.
You can bring a friend along or get the help of an interpreter
It is important that you understand what the staff tell you. If you do not speak Swedish, you may be entitled to an interpreter (a person who translates from your language into Swedish, and vice versa). The interpreter also has a duty to maintain patient confidentiality. If you would like an interpreter, please contact the clinic before your appointment.
You can bring a friend or family member along if you want. A friend or family member who translates for you is not an interpreter, and therefore does not have a duty to maintain patient confidentiality.
How the examination is performed
You will enter a room with a special chair with supports for your legs. This is called a gynaecological examination chair.
You will be asked a number of questions, such as:
- Are you pregnant or have you given birth within the past year?
- Are you using any protection against pregnancy?
- Have you stopped having your period?
Your answers are only used to help the staff do their job.
You will be asked to remove your clothes from the waist down. If you are wearing a skirt, dress, or long shirt, you can leave this on if you like. You will then be asked to sit in the examination chair. Try to relax.
The doctor or midwife will insert a small, soft brush all the way into your vagina and take a sample. It only takes a few minutes, and usually does not hurt.
If you have been subjected to female genital mutilation
You can have a cervical screening test even if you have been subjected to female genital mutilation, which means that some parts of your vagina have been cut off. You may need treatment before the cervical screening test if the opening of your vagina is very small. Please talk to the clinic that called you in for the test.
Feel free to call the 1177 hotline if you have any questions or need some advice by phone. The hotline is staffed by nurses. They can let you know whether you should seek medical care.
You can speak Swedish or English. The 1177 hotline is free of charge.
When will I get my test results?
You will get your results within about six weeks. You will get a letter or be contacted by phone. The letter will be sent to your official address of record. You will be asked to come in for a new examination if the test shows that something has changed in your uterus.