The gynaecological examination as a part of health prevention programmes is covered from the public health insurance for all women once a year (as stipulated by the Decree no. 56/1997 Coll. of MZCR). This checkup involves the examination of external genitalia, and vaginal examination including the colposcopy and cervical smear. Uterus and ovaries are then examined by bimanual palpation. Transvaginal ultrasound examination is optional.
Breast palpation by a gynaecologist is considered by many doctors to be a rather obsolete method. Instead, all women should be familiar with breast self-examination. Women aged 45–69 are eligible for free breast cancer screening test in accredited screening centres every two years. You can find more information on breast cancer screening in the Czech Republic on the website www.mamo.cz.
How is the examination done?
Cervical cancer screening is done using the cervical smear test which is taken by your gynaecologist during the preventive examination. This is a simple procedure that only takes about ten minutes and involves little more than a vaginal examination. During the examination, a sample of cells will be taken from your cervix using a small spatula or brush. These cells will be sent to an accredited cytology laboratory, where they will be examined under a microscope to search for any abnormal cervical cells. The results are then sent back to your gynaecologist.
What if I have normal cervical smear result?
Most women will have a normal result. In this case, your risk for cervical cancer is low and you should continue your regular screening (once a year).
What if I have abnormal cervical smear result?
Some women will have an abnormal result. This simply means that some abnormal cervical cells have been found on the cervical smear test; it is very rare for cancer to be detected. Depending on the result, you will be probably advised to have one of the following: (a) another cervical smear in three to six months, (b) a colposcopy, which is a procedure that allows the doctor to examine your cervix more closely. If cervical abnormalities persist, the gynaecologist will decide on possible treatment. This usually requires only a simple procedure that can be done in the hospital gynaecology outpatient clinic. Treatment rarely affects your sex life or ability to have children.
How to make an appointment?
In the Czech Republic, each woman aged 15 years and above is eligible for a preventive gynaecological examination which is covered from the public health insurance once a year. The eligible woman does not need any request form from her GP or other doctor, she can make a direct appointment to her registering gynaecologist, most typically by phone.