Breast Cancer Cervical Cancer

What is cervical smear:

The cervical smear is a very safe test that only takes a few minutes. The doctor or nurse will insert an instrument (called speculum) into your vagina to allow visualization of your cervix which is located deep inside the vagina. A small piece of wooden spatula or plastic brush will then be inserted through the speculum to obtain some cells sample from the surface of the cervix.

Who needs cervical cancer screening?

    • Cervical cancer screening is for healthy women who have no symptom.
    • Women aged 25-64 years who ever had sex, irrespective of marital status, are recommended to receive regular cervical cancer screening.
    • Women aged 65 years or above who ever had sex and have never had cervical cancer screening should talk to the doctor about having a cervical smear, even if they no longer have periods, haven’t had sex for many years or had sterilisation.
    • Women aged below 25 years who ever had sex and risk factors for cervical cancer (such as multiple sexual partners, smoking, weakened immunity), should seek advice from doctors concerning the need for cervical cancer screening.
    • Women who have received HPV vaccination still need regular cervical cancer screening because HPV vaccination does not protect against the HPV types not included in the vaccine, nor against existing HPV infections.
    • Women who have never had sex do not need cervical cancer screening.
    • Women who have hysterectomy with removal of cervix for benign diseases and without prior history of cervical changes can discontinue screening.

If in doubt, please consult the doctor

When should I have cervical cancer screening?

    • All women who ever had sex should have regular cervical cancer screening starting from the age of 25.
    • If your first cervical smear result is normal, you should have the second smear 1 year later.
    • If your second smear result is also normal, you should repeat smears every 3 years.
    • If you have any symptom (such as abnormal vaginal bleeding), you should see a doctor promptly, even if your last smear result was normal.

What do the cervical smear results mean?
Around 90% of the cervical smear results are “negative” (normal), meaning that no abnormal cell is found on your cervix. But you still need regular screening.

A “positive” or “abnormal” result usually means there are some changes in the cells of your cervix. It does not necessarily mean that you already have cancer. Most of these changes are due to HPV infection. A small number of women may have pre-cancerous cells which call for treatment to prevent them from turning cancerous. Your doctor will advise you on the necessary follow-up and investigations.

Please note that cervical smear is a screening test. If the result shows cell changes, further examination (e.g. colposcopy) will be required to identify the extent and severity of abnormal cells and help guide subsequent management.

Useful link:
The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong:
Lady Helen Woo Women’s Diagnositic and Treatment Centre: