Examinations - general gynaecology
A cervical smear is carried out as part of a routine check-up. This is a simple test designed to detect cervical cancer and the various early stages ahead of time.
Studies have shown that a routine breast examination has no proven usefulness. The chance of a lesion being detected in this way is very small. An examination is often carried out in any case if there is an indication. The doctor examines the breasts for irregularities, dimpling in the skin, lumps and discharge.
Your gynaecologist can use this technique to view your genital organs: the size, structure and any abnormalities of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. The best resolution is obtained by using a vaginal probe that can be guided close to the organ to be examined.
Cervical examination or colposcopy
In Belgium, women are advised to have a smear test done at least once every three years from the age of 25. The cells taken are specially treated and then examined in the laboratory under a microscope. If abnormal cells are found, the doctor treating you will contact you to carry out further examinations and possibly start treatment.
The gynaecologist then examines the cervix in depth using a special microscope that can detect small abnormalities and signs of incipient deterioration (this examination technique is known as a colposcopy). If necessary, a small tissue fragment can be taken from this abnormal area for further examination (biopsy).