Health Resources

Cervical Cancer

Screening, Prevention and Vaccination


​PAP smears

Regular Pap smears remains the best method for detection of cervical cancer. We specialise in performing this simple procedure and aim to cater to your needs whether you are undergoing it as an annual screen or as part of a more extensive screening programme. 

Did you know?
  • Women who have regular Pap smears have the lowest risk of developing cervical cancer.
  • Women who smoke have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer.
  • Women who started having intercourse at a young age (below 16 years of age at first intercourse) have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer.
  • Being infected with high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) strains for a prolonged period can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.

HPV vaccines

Whether you are a young woman seeking to receive an HPV vaccination or a concerned mother protecting your daughters against cervical cancer and genital warts in later life, our team of specialists will help you decide if an HPV vaccination is appropriate for you.
Did you know?
  • HPV only infects humans and tends to infect the skin cells of the genitals.
  • There are some 200 sub-types of HPV.
  • Only 15 of these sub-types have been implicated in cervical cancer.
  • HPV infection is very common.
  • Most cases of HPV infection (>95%) resolve without the need for special vaccines or medicines.
  • Only a very small percentage of women infected by HPV go on to develop cervical cancer.
At the NUH Women's Centre, we are committed to providing innovation-driven healthcare to our patients. We not only perform commercially available HPV testing but also HPV-specific genotyping that detects both broad-risk and specific strains of HPV.


Most abnormal Pap smear results will need to be verified by colposcopy. Images of the cervix are stored digitally and they do not fade over time, allowing on-demand reference. 

Did you know?
  • Colposcopy is performed with a magnifying scope to allow the cervix to be examined under good light and magnification.
  • Colposcopy can identify areas of the cervix that may be undergoing pre-cancerous changes, enabling promptly medical intervention.
  • Colposcopy has been used since early 1920s and remains one of the most useful tools in detecting and preventing cervical cancer.
  • A diluted solution of acetic acid (vinegar) is used to in the procedure to identify areas of the cervix that have undergone pre-cancerous changes.  

Women with pre-cancerous changes or early cervical cancer usually do not display any symptoms. You should consult a doctor promptly if you are experiencing:

  • Irregular menstrual-like bleeding or unexplained vaginal bleeding;
  • Vaginal bleeding after sex; or
  • Persistent strong smelling vaginal discharge.
Spread and Stages

Cervical cancer spread and stages

Cervical cancer develops from a few abnormal cells to a tumour over several years. Annual Pap smears are very effective in reducing the risk of developing this type of cancer.

Did you know?

  • Cervical cancer spreads outwards from the cervix to the bladder and rectum.
  • Cervical cancer has a prolonged, distinct pre-cancerous phase.
Therapeutic options

  • Pre-cancerous changes of the cervix can be easily treated. The following options are available at NUH, and can performed  as a day surgery:

    ·       Laser ablation. Pre-cancerous changes are completely removed using laser energy. This procedure does not require sedation or general anaesthesia.

    • Cold coagulation. Heat is applied to the pre-cancerous areas of the cervix to cauterise and destroy any abnormal areas on the cervix. This procedure does not require sedation or general anaesthesia.
    • LEEP (Loop Electro-Excision Procedure). A powered loop device cauterises and removes abnormal or pre-cancerous areas of the cervix. This procedure does not cause any blood loss.
    • Laser conisation
    • Needle conisation
    • Cold knife conisation

Cervical cancer is usually treated with:

  • Hysterectomy. The womb is removed together with the cervix. More complex surgery may be needed in cases where the cancer has spread extensively outside the cervix.
  • Radiation combined with chemotherapy. This therapeutic intervention is for advanced cervical cancer cases where surgery is unable to completely remove the cancer.

Here are some quick facts on outcomes after cervical cancer and pre-cancer treatment.

  • Regular Pap smears effectively identify pre-cancerous changes on the cervix.
  • Pre-cancerous changes can be easily treated in a clinic.
  • Treatment of pre-cancerous changes can prevent the risk of cervical cancer.
  • Early treatment of cancer allows for a 90% chance of complete recovery.
  • Late-stage cervical cancer remains a highly treatable condition with chemotherapy and radiation.
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