What do my results mean?

When you receive the smear test results, it will clearly say one of the following:

  • No abnormality detected
  • Unsatisfactory or inadequate
  • Low grade changes
  • High grade changes

No abnormality detected

This means that your cervical cells appear normal. You will be told in advance when your next smear test is due. If you are aged 25 to 44, your next smear test will be in 3 years’ time. If you are 45 to 60, your next smear will be in 5 years’ time.

Unsatisfactory or inadequate

This means the laboratory could not read your smear clearly. You will need a repeat smear test in 3 months’ time to check the cells again.

Low grade changes

This means the test found some minor changes in the cells of your cervix. These are early changes in the size, shape and number of cells on the surface of your cervix. It can also be called mild dyskaryosis or LSIL on a smear result. These cells often return to normal by themselves. It does not mean you have cancer. You will have a free repeat smear test in 6 months to check the cells again. If the low grade changes continue, you may be referred to a colposcopy clinic at the hospital. With low grade changes it is important that you have follow-up smears.

High grade changes

This means that the test has found a larger number of abnormal cells in your cervix. This can also be called moderate to severe dyskaryosis or HSIL. These cells are less likely to return to normal by themselves. This does not mean you have cancer but you will be referred to a colposcopy clinic at the hospital.

If you have questions about your results, contact your medical provider or

CervicalCheck at 1800 45 45 55.


Irish Cancer Society Logo221+ Patient Support Group thanks the Irish Cancer Society for permission to use the text of their booklet Cervical Cancer, What You Should Know
and acknowledges the contribution of the original authors of the booklet.