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Cervical Cancer Singapore

Colposcopy is a procedure that closely examines a woman’s cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of cancer precancer cells. Doctors who perform colposcopy procedures in Singapore use a colposcope, which is a special lighted and magnifying instrument that allows a clearer and closer view of the cervix and vaginal walls

Why Is a Colposcopy Done?

Usually, colposcopy in Singapore is advised by doctors when a Pap test or pelvic exam turns out abnormal results. It can also be used to check for genital warts, cervicitis, or inflammation of the cervix, and precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix, vagina and vulva.

Does a Colposcopy Hurt?

A colposcopy is relatively painless, though it comes with mild discomfort. Patients may feel a slight pressure as the speculum enters the vagina. Additionally, patients may experience a temporary stinging sensation when the solution makes contact with the cervix.

Is a Colposcopy Considered Surgery?

A colposcopy is a non-invasive procedure and is not considered a surgery. However, there are cases wherein a colposcopy is done right before a biopsy (cervical biopsy), which is a minor surgical procedure that involves abnormal cell or tissue samples being obtained from the cervix and assessed in a laboratory.

How to Get Ready for a Colposcopy

Before undergoing a colposcopy, there are some preparations that patients must make, such as:

  • Disclose their pregnancy status: While a colposcopy (even with a biopsy) is a safe procedure, pregnancy-related changes of the cervix can make it trickier to accurately evaluate the cervix. However, when performed by an experienced colposcopist, this will not be an issue.
  • Scheduling: Patients should try to avoid scheduling their colposcopy during their period, so as to ensure an easier and clearer assessment.
  • Sex: Patients should not engage in sexual intercourse one or two days before their colposcopy.
  • Pain relief: Patients are allowed to take medications beforehand that will make them more comfortable during the procedure.
  • Vaginal medications: From two days before the colposcopy, patients must not take any vaginal medications.

What Happens During a Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy?

Performed in a doctor’s office, a colposcopy takes 10 to 20 minutes. Patients are instructed to lie on their backs on the table, with each foot supported on stirrups located on the sides of the table. A smooth, tube-shaped tool called a speculum is placed in the vagina that holds open the walls of the vagina in order for the doctors to have a view of the cervix. The colposcope will then be used to have a more detailed and close-up view of the cervix.

If any area looks suspicious or abnormal, a small sample of cells will be obtained from the cervix (cervical biopsy) and sent for further testing. During a cervical biopsy, patients are expected to feel a little cramp or pinch.

What Happens After a Colposcopy?

After a colposcopy, patients are able to continue with their daily activities, especially when a biopsy didn’t take place. If a cervical biopsy was performed, do refrain from using tampons, applying creams, douching (this is never recommended) or having sexual intercourse for up to a week afterwards.

In the next few days, patients may experience spotting or light bleeding from their vagina. However, if a biopsy was done, patients may experience mild vaginal pain and light or dark bleeding from the vagina.

What Do the Results of My Colposcopy Mean?

The results of the colposcopy will indicate whether patients might need any further treatment (if abnormalities are found). It will also help your doctor formulate a personalised cervical cancer screening schedule.

What Happens if a Colposcopy’s Result Turns Out Abnormal?

If abnormalities are revealed during a colposcopy, doctors may recommend that patients repeat the Pap test more often. They can also advise patients to undergo treatments such as:

  • LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure): Cervical cancer clinics in Singapore use LEEP, also known as LLETZ (Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone), to remove precancerous cells from the cervix, thereby stopping them from turning into cancer. Your doctor will apply local anaesthesia to numb the area, before using an electrically charged wire loop to remove abnormal cells.
  • Cone biopsy: This type of treatment involves the removal of a cone-shaped piece of abnormal cervical tissue, which will then be sent to a lab for further testing. Usually, doctors use this to remove larger amounts of abnormal tissue located in the cervical canal. This is also used to treat abnormal tissue as it is removed.

SC Quek Gynaecology is a cervical cancer treatment clinic that offers comprehensive women’s healthcare services such as colposcopy and cervical cancer screening in Singapore. For more information, call 6479 9555.

What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Dr Quek Swee Chong
Dr Quek is an experienced gynaecologist of over 20 years with a specialized interest in the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer.

To that end, he serves on the board of the International Federation of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology, and his extensive research and humanitarian work centre around HPV and cervical cancer as well.