Hi, I'm new on here but have just had an abnormal smear test. The results show high risk HPV with borderline squamous cell changes. Does this mean I have cancer? I have had smear tests every 3 years and fortunately all these came back negative, that is until now. I'm worried sick. Is there a chance that cancer can develop in the 3 years between my last smear test and this one I have just had? Any help would be much appreciated.
This doesnt mean you have cancer. You have high risk HPV, which can cause changes to cells that can eventually lead to cancer over many years. Lots of people have high risk HPV and go on to clear the virus. It sounds like there are some cells that have mild changes. Sometimes these mild changes go back to normal on their own. Sometimes you need to have treatment to the cervix to get rid of them. For most women, this is the end of it. For some women, the virus persists and they need further treatment. Rarely, the changes go on to become cancer. You should know that more than half of women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer have not kept up-to-date with their smears. This is because if you get smears regularly pre-cancerous changes are detected and treated. Generally it takes more than 3 years for changes to become cancerous. So by keeping up-to-date with smears you have really reduced your risk. Some unlucky women who have kept up-to-date develop cancer but the chances of you being one of those women are really low.
Did they invite you for a colposcopy? If they dont feel the changes are severe enough you might be called back for a repeat smear instead. I believe the guidelines are cell changes + high risk HPV means referral to colposcopy.
If they have invited you dont worry. Its not much worse than the smear. Its actually more comfotable in some ways because theres a proper chair. The worst part is worrying. I couldnt cope without family support. I hope you have someone to talk to about this at home.
Dont be stressed - you are not alone. So many people struggle with abnormal cells. I have decided to be open with friends and work colleagues about it because I noticed that no-one talks about it and then I thought well I dont talk about it so what do I expect. Since Ive been open everyone either has a story of someone they knew that has been through it or has been through it themselves. ITs like flu - some people get sick and die of flu but you dont see it as a life threatening thing straight away because you know loads of people who get it and recover and talk about it. If all you heard about were the people who get flu and die you'd be terrified of it! (apolgoies if anyone reading this knows someone who has died of flu...I dont mean to cause offence).
Many thanks JanieMS for your reply. I took some comfort in your reassuring comments. I have got a colposcopy booked for Wednesday next week. The sheer urgence of my appointment made me fear the worst. I pray that everything is going to be OK. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I will post back later