Cervical Screening

Finding information

Finding sufficient information about further tests and treatments can be bewildering for people if they do not know what questions to ask, where to find information or they don't understand the medical terminology used. We asked women about their experiences of looking for information about abnormal cervical cells, colposcopy and treatment. Some women we interviewed wanted to find as much information as possible, others wanted to have information in stages and some preferred not to know very much about their condition. When women weren’t able to find enough information, they felt more anxious about their abnormal results and treatment.

Some received information leaflets from the hospital during their further tests or before their colposcopy examination with their appointment letter. Many found these leaflets informative and reassuring.

Many found the information given by the doctors and nurses at the clinic very helpful. However, many said they had to ask questions because the information wasn't always freely given. Sometimes women said they would have liked more information from their doctor. Women who had taken a written list of questions to their appointments had found it helpful.

Abnormal cervical cells and follow up seemed to be a topic which some women did not talk freely about with their friends, family or work colleagues. But many explained that when they did talk to other women they found it very reassuring. They realised that abnormal cells and further investigations were more common than they first thought.

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Some women used the internet to find out information. Several found the internet a good source of information but others had difficulty finding relevant information. Some said the information they found was too medical and there was little reference to personal experiences. One of the most useful resources for many women was the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website. They had found it very helpful to chat on the forum to other women going through similar experiences, or to read how others were coping.


Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust also has a helpline: 0808 802 8000 see their website for opening times.  

Some women read medical books or articles from magazines which they said they found helpful.

Last reviewed October 2015.

Last updated October 2015.

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