At the Agora we offer women’s health screening for a wide variety of gynaecological conditions, including early stage cancers. Diagnosing disease at an early stage can make it more treatable and prevent it from developing into a life threatening condition. Our health screens vary depending on your age, your family history and any particular concerns you may have.
During a typical screening visit, the consultant will ask you a number of questions about your health and medical history and then examine your breasts and pelvis. Depending on your age, and any concerns you may have, we can also offer:
- Cervical screening to detect the early signs of cervical cancer
- A pelvic ultrasound scan
- Blood testing to check your hormone levels
- A sexual health screening if required: this involves having tests (and if necessary, treatment) for sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis. The tests may involve: urine and blood tests; swabs from the vagina, and an internal examination
Cervical screening test
A cervical screening test (previously known as a ‘smear test’) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix and usually takes around five minutes to perform. A speculum will be gently inserted into your vagina so the doctor can examine the cervix, and a small soft brush is used to take some cells from the surface.
The sample of cervical cells is then examined under a microscope to see whether there are any abnormalities. Changes in the cells of the cervix are often caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). You can opt to include a specialised screening test that will look specifically for evidence of high risk HPV. The procedure to obtain the cells is the same as for standard screening.
The results of your cervical screening test will be sent to you and, if there are any abnormalities, you will be referred to a hospital specialist for further tests.
Pelvic ultrasound scan
A pelvic ultrasound scan is used to examine the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your body. It is painless, safe and doesn’t use radiation so carries none of the risks associated with an X-ray.
How is it carried out?
Scans are carried out using a transvaginal ultrasound scanner, which provides the clearest possible images. You will be asked to empty your bladder first, before lying on your back with your legs apart where they can rest in specially designed holders. The slim ultrasound probe will then be covered and lubricated before being gently inserted into the vagina. The image appears on a screen and the probe is moved gently about to identify the individual structures so that measurements and images can be taken.