After a colposcopy, your doctor or nurse will often be able to tell you what they've found straight away.

If they take a biopsy (remove a small sample of tissue to be examined in a laboratory), you may need to wait up to four to eight weeks to receive your result by post.

See below for information about what the different results mean.

Normal result

About 4 in every 10 women who have a colposcopy have a normal result.

This meansno abnormal cells were found inyour cervix during the colposcopy and/or biopsy and you don't need any immediate treatment.

You'll be advised to continue with cervical screening as usual, in case abnormal cells develop later on.

Depending on your age, you'll be invited for a cervical screening appointment inthree or fiveyears.

Abnormal result

About 6 in every 10 women have abnormal cells in their cervix known as cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) or cervical glandular intra-epithelial neoplasia (CGIN).

This isn'tcancer, but there's a risk it could turninto cancer if untreated.

Abnormal cells may be detected while a colposcopy is carried out, but a biopsy will be needed to determine what the risk of these becoming cancerous is and whether treatment is needed.

The different types of abnormal biopsy result and whatthey mean are as follows:

  • CIN 1 it's unlikely the cells will become cancerous and they may go away on their own; no treatment is needed andyou'll be invited for a Smear test in 12 months to check they've gone
  • CIN 2 there's a moderate chance the cells will become cancerous andtreatment to remove them is usually recommended
  • CIN 3 there's a high chancethe cells will become cancerous and treatment to remove them is recommended
  • CGIN there's a high chance the cells will become cancerous and treatment to remove them is recommended

If this happens, you'll be referred to a team of specialists to discuss treatment.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has more information about biopsy results .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 16 Jan 2017