“ I had never had a Cervical Smear before so I was quite nervous. Mr McIndoe was very professional and courteous. He took the time to answer all of my questions and alleviate any doubts I had. He made sure that he understood what I was asking and that I understood what he explained."
‘CIN’ is Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia, also known as Dysplasia. It refers to abnormalities of the skin covering the cervix. The cells are growing faster than they should, and without treatment, occasionally will develop into a cancer over many months or years. CIN does not cause any symptoms, and so is not associated with pain or bleeding. Often CIN will go away without treatment, particularly if it is low grade. CIN can not be seen with the naked eye, but is diagnosed using a colposcope, and often a tiny biopsy from the cervix.
Where is CIN identified on the cervix??
CIN usually develops at the junction between the squamous skin of the outer part of the cervix or ectocervix, and the thin columnar epithelium that lines the canal of the cervix or endocervix which connects to the inside of the uterus. This junction is called the squamo-columnar junction, and is usually seen on the ectocervix near the canal. However, it can be further away from the canal on the ectocervix, or hidden within the canal of the cervix.
What age should I have my first smear test?
Smear tests should be taken from 20 years of age or alternatively two years after the beginning of sexual activity. Many countries have moved the age of first smear to 25 years of age but we believe this is a mistake. The peak incidence of cancer of the cervix is between 25 and 30 years of age and the smear test is used to pick up precancerous abnormalities that occur before cancer develops. Since the NHS has moved the beginning of screening from 20 year of age, the numbers of cancers in these young women has increased by 50%.