Urogynaecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery,
Minimally Invasive & Robotic Laparoscopic Gynae Surgery

Screening For Cancer Of The Cervix

Cervical cancer is one good example of a preventable cancer. In fact, the incidence of this cancer has declined over the years in populations that have integrated wide-spread cervical screening programme. Pre cancerous changes of the cervix have enabled these early cases to be detected via cervical (Papanicolou) smears.

National Screening Programme For Cervical Cancer

The National Screening Programme in Singapore was initiated in 2008, and encouraged every woman who is sexually active to have a Pap smear every three yearly between the ages of 25 and 26 years old. When the smear returned as suspicious, subsequent follow on smears may be prescribed at shorter intervals according to the abnormality reported. Many women, nevertheless, continue to have annual Pap smear as to improve early detection. There are known risk factors that put a woman at a higher risk of cervical cancer. We will recommend how often and when you should start the screening programme. When the smear result is reported as abnormal, like ASCUS, mild to severe dyskaryosis; it is necessary to undergo a colposcopic examination to confirm the severity of the pre-cancerous changes, aided by directed biopsy of the cervix or wide excision of the cervix.

Cervical cancer is preventable

Screening of cervical cancer is not only fairly straight-forward, but also affordable. No woman should deny herself the opportunity and the means of cervical cancer screening.

Pap Smear

The purpose of performing a Pap smear is to take a sample of cells from the surface of the cervix (which is the neck of the womb). A speculum is put into the vagina gently, to open up the walls of the vagina so as to visualize the cervix. The innner and outer surface of the cervix is wiped over by a cytobrush several times to lift up cells that are shedded from the “skin” of the cervix. The collected cells sample may then be either; applied over a glass slide and fixed, or immersed into a liquid medium. The collected cells are subsequently examined under the microscope by the cytopathologist, who will grade the cellular changes. The Pap smear is best performed in between the menstrual periods as excessive bleeding will obscure accurate examination. In the same light, it is ill-advised to have douched, used feminine deodorant or have sexual intercourse about twenty-four hours before performing the Pap smear.

Ovarian Cancer Screening

On current evidence, there is no cost effective and efficacious population program to screen for ovarian cancer in the early stage. Much resources and effort is spent the world over to devise a blood test or a combination of blood test and imaging. The truth is ovarian cancer is mostly detected late and this gives poor outcome; resulting in severe pain and discomfort and premature death. Without an effective program of screening for ovarian cancer, diagnosis is often delayed, which is largely due to the ovaries being sited deep in the pelvis, and they remain inaccessible until the tumors arising from them become large (by which time the disease has spread to other areas). At this late stage, the woman may complain of abdominal discomfort, pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and painful intercourse.

Screening For Ovarian Cancer By Tumour Markers & Ultrasound Scan

The presence of ovarian cancer may be detected by pelvic ultrasonography and assessment of certain tumor markers in the blood. The conduct of these tests, either alone or in combination, is not completely reliable in early detection, but they can, to some extent, alleviate the worry regarding the ovaries being abnormal. The value of these tests improves when they are repeated at intervals. Women in general may subscribe to these tests. But those that benefit most will be the women with a family history of ovarian cancer or related cancers such as breast, bowel and endometrial cancer. With increase awareness of ovarian cancer, and of its tendency of delayed diagnosis, many women simply wish to have the reassurance of evaluating their ovaries.


38 Irrawaddy Road #05-21/22
Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
Singapore 329563
Tuesday: 9am-4pm
Wednesday: 9am-2pm
Friday: 9am-2pm


681 Punggol Drive #03-11
Oasis Terraces (LRT Stn)
Singapore 820681
Monday: 9am-2pm,

Thursday: 9pm-2pm,

Saturday: 9am-2pm

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